Ottawa's Canada Day celebrations to be virtual for second straight year

Canada Day fireworks

For the second year in a row, Canada Day celebrations in the capital will be a virtual affair.

In a statement Friday detailing this year’s July 1 programming, the department of Canadian Heritage said it will be producing a program called Lights on Canada Day that will be broadcast on CBC and Radio-Canada as well as on the department’s YouTube channel. 

Hosted by entertainers Véronic DiCaire and Jully Black, the program will feature an array of artists, including Jann Arden, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at rehearsals and the studio during commercial breaks. The show will be capped off with a virtual 3D fireworks display at 10 p.m.

Earlier this year, Heritage Canada suggested it was looking at staging a live show after last year’s festivities were scrapped due to the pandemic. The department said it was seeking bids for a contractor to provide pyrotechnics, fireworks, music and a minimum of 200 drones for a performance at LeBreton Flats on the evening of July 1. 

While noting there would be no stage on Parliament Hill due to the Centre Block renovation project, Canadian Heritage laid out a potential plan for “revised and varied programming for visitors who come to Parliament Hill throughout the day and in the evening.”

However, the list of Canada Day celebrations issued Friday did not include any live events at LeBreton Flats. In an email to OBJ on Friday afternoon, Canadian Heritage spokesperson Caroline Czajkowski said: “All Canada Day activities will be hosted virtually, and will allow Canadians to participate safely from their homes.”