New Brunswick cities scrap Canada Day events over graves found at residential schools

·1 min read

Several New Brunswick communities are cancelling Canada Day celebrations this year in light of the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential schools in Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

Fredericton, Bathurst, Saint John and Cap-Pélé are among the municipalities that have chosen to scrap the traditional festivities in favour of what many are calling a day of reflection.

The City of Fredericton said in a news release earlier this week the city's Canada Day committee had already rolled back plans because of the COVID-19 pandemic but has now decided not to hold any events at all.

Instead, the city will light city hall in orange and is urging citizens to spend the day reflecting on how best to work toward reconciliation with Indigenous communities. The colour orange has been associated with efforts to remember Canada's residential school history.

A spokeswoman for the City of Moncton says officials had decided in March to cancel the main Canada Day celebrations because of the pandemic.

Isabelle Leblanc says the city feels that the pandemic and the discovery of the unmarked grave sites make this a good time to reflect on Canada's history and on how to build a better future.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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