Canadians celebrate national holiday mostly online

MONTREAL (AFP) – Forced indoors by the COVID-19 pandemic, ceremonies marking Canada’s national holiday on Wednesday were mostly held virtually, as even the traditional fireworks were cancelled.

Gone were the festive parades, open-air concerts and large gatherings held each year to celebrate Canada Day. Instead Canadian artistes held online virtual events.

Some Canadians did gather outdoors in places like Newcastle, New Brunswick, to watch drive-by parades that moved slowly in order to comply with social distancing regulations.

The fireworks display that traditionally culminates a day of celebrations in Ottawa was replaced by a 3D show. Canadians were urged to turn their mobile phones to the sky at 10pm local time to witness a three-minute display of artificial fireworks.

“The augmented reality experience will give you the same visual and sound effects as a real fireworks display!” the government promised on the department of Canadian Heritage website. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marked the occasion by visiting with his family a farm that supplies an Ottawa food bank.