Global News has learned Premier Doug Ford’s government has cancelled Canada Day celebrations on the front lawn of Queen’s Park and is instead opting to offer free admission to a number of attractions across the province.
The celebration at Queen’s Park has been a tradition over five decades. The first event took place on Canada’s centennial birthday in 1967.
After an inquiry from Global News, Laryssa Waler, Premier Doug Ford’s Executive Director of Communications told Global News, “For the first time ever, our government is helping hard-working families celebrate Canada Day by offering free admission to the first 500 visitors at 10 different Ontario agencies and attractions. Instead of hosting a single event at Queen’s Park, we are providing free admission for thousands of people to Canada Day events across the province.”
Multiple sources confirm to Global News the government made the decision to cancel the Queen’s Park event months ago.
The free celebration usually includes a 21-gun salute, singing of the national anthem and a number of activities for families such as dance performances, inflatable rides, crafts and children’s shows.
In past years, citizenship ceremonies to welcome new Canadians have also taken place. The premier of the province traditionally attends.
The government says the celebration has historically had low attendance and cost between $300,000 and $400,000. The new approach they say will cost up to $80,000.
Admission for the first 500 visitors on July 1 will be offered at the following locations:
- Fort William Historical Park (Thunder Bay)
- Huronia Historical Parks (Midland and Penetanguishene)
- McMichael Canadian Art Collection (Vaughan)
- Butterfly Conservatory – Niagara Parks Commission (Niagara)
- Ontario Science Centre (Toronto)
- Cinesphere – Ontario Place (Toronto)
- Royal Botanical Gardens (Burlington)
- Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto)
- Science North (Sudbury)
- St. Lawrence Parks Commission (St. Lawrence Region)
Most Legislatures across the country have Canada Day celebrations planned this year including Alberta, BC, Manitoba, PEI, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is responsible for events related to celebrations such as Canada Day. Lisa MacLeod recently was moved from her role as Social Services Minister to take on the portfolio.
NDP MPP Jill Andrew responded to news of the cancellation Friday.
“Ford Fest goes ahead, while Canada Day celebration is cancelled. I guess Ford only goes where he thinks he won’t be booed,” she said.
Ford Fest, which is happening this weekend, is not funded by tax dollars.
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