Canadians who want to brave the cold to spend New Year’s Eve on Parliament Hill will be able to go for a skate and watch the fireworks but there will be no live music to keep them company in the frigid outdoors.
A spokesperson for the Department of Canadian Heritage has confirmed that several activities planned to take place on Parliament Hill as part of the closing ceremonies for the Canada 150 celebrations this weekend are being cancelled because of the deep freeze.
However, the government is leaving the choice about whether to come out for other scheduled activities up to Canadians — while also warning them to bundle up if they do.
The performances by Kardinal Offishal as well as DJ Shub will no longer take place on Dec. 31.
Those who want to go for a skate on the public rink on Parliament Hill can still do so.
The evening light show and the midnight fireworks display are also still a go, as is the presentation of Nimidiwin at the nearby Canadian Museum of History.
There is no change to the previously announced plan to move the Canada 150 hockey tournament indoors.
“Given Environment Canada’s extreme cold warning and due to public health and safety concerns, please note that, as with the City of Ottawa outdoor programming, artistic programming for the Canada 150 closing events on Parliament Hill for Dec. 30 and 31 has been modified,” said Canadian Heritage spokesperson Natalie Huneault.
“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.”
WATCH BELOW: This is how cold it felt across Canada
Reports had been swirling on Friday morning as to whether the government would cancel the bevy of events planned for Dec. 30 and 31 as part of the closing ceremony for the Canada 150 celebrations.
Temperatures are forecast to remain around -28 C with the wind chill making things feel much colder, and that prompted the City of Ottawa to move activities, planned by the city over the weekend, indoors to Ottawa City Hall.
Guy Laflamme, executive director of the Ottawa 2017 municipal celebrations, said the only thing to do is “just to laugh at those extreme weather conditions.”
Laflamme, who has been involved for more than 25 years in producing major outdoor events like Canada Day and Winterlude, is no stranger to the whims of Mother Nature.
“Being involved with outdoor events for so long, you soon learn you cannot fight against weather conditions,” he said. “You have to collaborate with Mother Nature and plan for major contingency measures to be able to adapt quickly to these kinds of conditions.”
Greg Haynes, a local who spoke to Global News while taking a friend from Iowa for a visit to Parliament Hill, said embracing the cold weather at this time of year is just part of being Canadian.
“If you’re dressed for it, why not?” he said. “It’s Canada.”
According to Environment Canada, Ottawa will get a bit of a reprieve from the extreme cold Friday and Saturday but warned that “another shot of fresh and frigid Arctic air will return extreme cold to the region in time for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.”
Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island, announced Thursday it was cancelling its planned New Year’s Eve activities because of cold weather.
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