Canada Day celebrations in Fredericton look different this year — but even COVID-19 can't get rid of these New Brunswickers' pride.
After the pandemic forced the usual Canada Day events to be held virtually, members of the community were asked to decorate their homes to boost community spirit.
Jon Henry and Jo Craig-Henry typically host an annual Canada Day barbecue and party. This year, they raised three large Canada Day flags along the face of their home along with several smaller ones. At night, projections of fireworks light up the flags.
"The decoration isn't for us — it's people walk by, they look at it, it gives them a smile. And we need smiles during COVID-19," Henry said.
"The best thing we can do is just decorate and celebrate together as a city."
Craig-Henry said it was disappointing not to be able to hold their typical celebrations, since they usually welcome 20 to 40 people to drop in at their house.
"But it's still Canada Day, it's been Canada Day for 153 years. Our house is pretty much the same age as Canada so it seems wrong not to decorate it."
Paul Wentzell is the co-chair of the Fredericton Canada Day committee. He has been part of the committee for 26 years and prior to COVID-19 fireworks were only cancelled once due to rain.
"Normally we are in beautiful downtown Fredericton with thousands of people around and food trucks and everything else. Unfortunately that is not possible this year, but we are doing the best we can," he said.
On top of asking home owners to decorate for Canada Day there is a virtual concert being hosted on Youtube until 9 p.m. with several Fredericton-based musicians.
He said the house decorating challenge also has a friendly competition tied to it.
"We've introduced a north side-south side challenge. So we are going to decide who has the most community spirit between the two sides of Fredericton," he said.
"It has been a tough year with everything that is going on with COVID-19 and we just thought it would be some fun and it would give people some little chance to have fun with their neighbours."
Wentzell said the response has been great and he is seeing a lot of decorating throughout the city.
"We have a panel of judges who are doing their very best to drive around both sides of the river."
Wentzell said a winner will be picked Thursday. He said he isn't concerned pitting the two sides against each other and it is all for fun with bragging rights on the line.
Sharlene and Peter Keith said they are decorating their home "because they can't do anything else."
Sharlene said usually the couple takes part in Canada Day celebrations in the town — but this year several Canadian flags and streamers are hanging from their home.
"I heard there was kind of a friendly competition going on in the city with decorating and I thought [let's] get in the community spirit. That's one way you can celebrate with other people."
Peter said this Canada Day is also the couple's 42nd anniversary and usually they have fireworks, but won't get them this year.
"It has always been one of my favourite holidays anyway, one of the reasons we picked it to be married on," Sharlene said, adding she is proud to be Canadian.
"Canada Day kind of gives you that excuse to remind people how lucky we are."