B.C.'s capital city takes Canada Day celebrations virtual for 2020

There will still be entertainment and fireworks in Victoria, B.C., for Canada Day, although this year, the celebrations will be viewed from the couch, instead of downtown, the usual epicentre of the festivities.

The City of Victoria, in partnership with Canadian Heritage, has taken the celebrations virtual because of COVID-19 concerns and on July 1 at 7 p.m., people can watch on the city's Facebook page or YouTube channel.

The one hour, commercial-free event will also be broadcast on television courtesy of CHEK News.

Several local musical acts and artists will perform at Canada's 153rd birthday party including:

  • Fake Fake: Charlotte Hynds and Justin Campbell make up this duo, influenced by an array of intergenerational R&B, soul, funk and electronic music.
  • Paint the Town Red: A rap group from the Tsartlip nation in the W̱SÁNEĆ territory.
Caleb Hart website

"We are very excited to be able to support some of the artists in our community who, of course, during COVID, are suffering," said Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe on CBC's On The Island.

Thornton-Joe has helped organize Victoria's Canada Day celebrations for over two decades and has found a silver lining about having to go digital in 2020.

"I won't be doing probably 45,000 steps that day," said Thornton-Joe with a laugh, adding there is also far less worry about the weather co-operating.

Living flag still alive

One thing she said she will miss, however, is the popular living flag event where up to 5,000 people have gathered on the lawn of the B.C. Legislature in past years. Dressed in red and white, the group then forms a living Canadian flag. 

But this year, anyone who would have otherwise participated in the living flag could send a picture of themselves in red and white to the local Times Colonist newspaper. The paper is issuing a print version of the flag made up of all those submitted images.

So music, entertainment and the flag are all taken care off, but what about the traditional fireworks display that usually lights up the harbour area downtown?

Now, they will just light up your living room.

Thornton-Joe says there will be a virtual fireworks display created using footage from past shows to top off the night.

Tap here to learn more about what to expect and where to watch Victoria's Canada Day 2020.