Mother Nature drowned out Canada Day on Parliament Hill and now she might freeze out New Year’s Eve.
Organizers were checking the forecast every hour Friday hoping to see some improvement but the polar vortex that has turned Ottawa into a living icicle shows no sign of lifting until at least January 2.
So they’ve cancelled plans for musical entertainment and DJs for the Canada 150 closing events, but will go ahead with fireworks and a laser show scheduled for midnight.
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“We invite all Canadians and visitors to consider the extreme weather conditions and to dress warmly and prepare accordingly to prevent frostbite and other injuries,” said Canadian Heritage in a statement Friday.
Earlier Friday, plans for the bash were in doubt altogether as the department’s website briefly listed everything as being cancelled, but a final decision wasn’t made until mid-morning.
Andrew Campbell, the senior executive director in charge of the Canada 150 secretariat, had said earlier that with the current forecast offering up temperatures close to -28 Celsius with 15 km/hour winds, there had been concern that the equipment needed for the fireworks and multimedia light show might not work.
Hip hop artist Kardinal Offishall is among the artists scheduled to perform on Parliament Hill Sunday night. News on social media that the party might be cancelled prompted him to post his displeasure.
Campbell said it will be disappointing if things end up being cancelled but there is still lots going on for New Year’s Eve.
He pointed to Nimidiwin, a showcase of Indigenous culture being put on at the Canadian Museum of History on Sunday afternoon, and the official lighting of the National Arts Centre’s new Kipnes Lantern, which is the showpiece of its $110.5 million makeover.
The weather has already forced the cancellation of youth hockey games on the Parliament Hill Canada 150 skating rink but Campbell said public skating continues.
Members of the public will be able to skate on the rink right up until midnight on New Year’s Eve.
The City of Ottawa has already moved all its events indoors including a session of Parka Yoga and a concert.