Canada celebrates its 154th birthday this Thursday, July 1, which is usually cause for celebration, but we're still living in unusual times.
While vaccination rates are steadily climbing across Canada, much of the country has yet to fully re-open, which means Canada Day celebrations will be mostly virtual for a second consecutive year. One possible exception is Alberta, where the province plans to fully lift COVID-19 restrictions on July 1 after reaching a 70% first-dose vaccination threshold.
Regardless of where you are, here are five ways you can celebrate Canada Day in 2021.
Watch a virtual fireworks show
Fireworks have become a Canada Day tradition and several cities across the country will be launching pyrotechnics on July 1, including Edmonton, Ottawa and Thunder Bay. Ottawa's show will be the most accessible show to watch virtually, as Tim Hortons will be hosting a virtual fireworks show with a unique augmented reality experience at 10:00 PM local time across Canada.
Watch a virtual concert
CBC will be celebrating Canada Day by hosting Lights on Canada Day – a musical event that will be broadcast online from coast-to-coast starting at 8:00 PM local time. Over two dozen Canadian performers will be featured in the event, including Jann Arden, Jully Black, Major Funk, Gurdeep Pandher and more. The show will be broadcast live on TV and online via CBC Gem or the Canadian Heritage YouTube channel.
Get a free Canadian flag
Current Members of Parliament can often provide pieces of Canadian memorabilia to constituents including flags, pins and copies of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. To request one, simply contact your local MP to have them sent to your address for free.
Alternatively, you can also order a genuine Canadian flag flown over Parliament Hill for free from the Department of Public Services and Procurement. However, these flags are rare and highly sought-after, so you'll have to wait very long to receive one – as of June 2021, the wait-time is over 100 years (you can request a flag on behalf of your children or grandchildren).
Arts and crafts
You’ll find a few at-home activities for Canada Day by visiting the Government of Canada website, where they've created the Canada Day Celebration Kit with several kid-friendly activities including downloadable colouring books, origami crafts, buildable 3D models and recipes, with several activities themed from different Canadian agencies like Parks Canada, Canadian Space Agency, Canadian Olympic Committee, National Arts Centre and others.
Spend time with family and friends
While Canada Day is meant to be a day of pride and celebration, some cities including Kelowna and Victoria have cancelled this year's celebration following the discovery of 215 children’s remains at a former Kamloops residential school in May.
Instead, a growing number of Canadians will be skipping Canada Day celebrations in solidarity with Indigenous communities and use the holiday to spend time with family and reflect on what it means to be Canadian.