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Barrie, Ont., to host virtual Canada Day celebration

A man waves a flag during a Canada Day parade in Montreal on July 1, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

The City of Barrie, Ont., will host a virtual Canada Day event on July 1 instead of holding its annual gathering at the waterfront and downtown area.

“At the advice of the health unit, the city’s emergency operation control group has made the difficult decision to cancel the traditional Canada Day festivities,” Michael Prowse, Barrie’s chief administrative officer, said in a statement.

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“We know this event is one that many look forward to, but the health of our citizens comes first.”

According to Barrie officials, the local annual Canada Day celebrations attract crowds of up to 40,000 to the city’s downtown area and waterfront.

“At this time, the emergency order is still in place, which prevents gatherings of more than five people, and even if it was lifted in time for Canada Day, this type of event creates a challenge for attendees to maintain a two-metre distance from each other,” officials say.

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By cancelling the in-person event now, the city avoids having to issue refunds and pay penalties to vendors, officials add.

More details will be announced when they’re available.

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Coronavirus outbreak: City of Toronto cancels all in-person Canada Day celebrations – May 1, 2020