Canada Day celebrations in Hamilton, Burlington, Niagara will be virtual amid pandemic

Amid the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, cities in the Hamilton-Niagara region will forgo traditional public Canada Day celebrations in favour of virtual events. Don Mitchell / Global News

Canada Day celebrations will look very different in 2020 compared to previous incarnations of public events held in the Hamilton – Niagara area, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

With emergency orders in Ontario still in effect and large gatherings banned until at least July 15, a number of cities in the province have opted for virtual events to celebrate the country’s 153rd year of confederation.

Here’s what’s planned for next Wednesday region by region:


The highlight of Hamiton’s Canada day will be provided by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum who will fly an Avro Lancaster Bomber over the city before noon (weather permitting).

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The 21 metre (69 foot) plane, best known for it’s World War II exploits is scheduled to fly over the city in memory of snowbirds Capt. Jenn Casey, just after 11 a.m. on July 1.

The city will also present a one-hour broadcast special featuring local artists Terra Lightfoot, The Dirty Nil, Queen Cee, Tom Wilson, John Ellison, Hamilton Children’s Choir and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra Brass Quintet.

The event will air on CHCH at 7 p.m.

The city is also encouraging front door decorating with a Canada Day theme. Prize packs will be given to 10 of the best submitted to #HamOntCanadaDay before 5 p.m. on July 1.

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Hundreds from around the world will attempt to form a virtual choir to sing O Canada around 9:30 a.m. on July 1. Acapella men’s chorus Harbourtown sound will join about 300 others in the arrangement that can be streamed from Facebook.


Burlington’s Canada Day will kick off at 10:30 a.m. in a virtual celebration on the city’s website hosted by former ET Canada host, Rick Campanelli.

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The tune-in event will kick off with a message from Mayor Marianne Meed Ward before moving to online performances from the Burlington Teen Tour Band singing O’ Canada, a series on song and dance from the First Nations’ White Pine Dancers, Niagara country star Tim Hicks, and a virtual fireworks event at 8 p.m. on the Snap’d Hub.

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The Burlington online event will also tap into a virtual tour across Canada hosted by Serena Ryder and Pierre-Yves Lord.

All events can be seen from the city’s website on July 1.

The very first Drive-Thru Ribfest will also take place in Burlington on Canada Day.  The event is the 2020 alternative to the cancelled Spencer Smith Park event.

Read more: Canada Day 2020 will include a drive-thru ribfest in Burlington, Ont.

The drive-thru will be in the Burlington Centre mall parking lot from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m and proceeds will go towards the same charities supported at the annual festival.

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St. Catharines

St. Catharines’ Canada Day celebrations – typically held at Rennie Park –  will be replaced by a virtual event from the city’s website, headlined by Tim Hicks.

The event will kick off at 10 a.m. with a Facebook watch party followed by local performers, a children’s crafts and “Mad Science” segment, TikTok Dance Party and Trivia segment.

The city is also giving away St. Catharines t-shirts in a search for the best-looking decorated windows, doors and front yards, shared on social media using the hashtag #CanadaDaySTC.

Links to all of St. Catharines Canada Day programming can be found on the city’s website.

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Free paper Canadian flags are also available at participating local businesses.

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Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls virtual celebrations will feature a number of headline Canadian musical acts including Deadmau5, Honeymoon Suite, LMT Connection and Tim Hicks.

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The city will also have a number of other virtual music performances from regional artists and online segments with buskers, including host and magician Matt Anthony.

The event will run from 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. and is hosted on the city’s website and on Facebook.

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