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Calgary Canada Day 2021: Fireworks and activity kits provide COVID-19-safe celebration

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While Calgary won’t be having a “traditional Canada Day” celebration with downtown events and live music along the riverfront, the city is providing people with three COVID-19-safe ways to celebrate.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Wednesday he’s hoping this July 1 can not only be a day to celebrate the country, but also celebrate a bright future ahead with pandemic public health measures being eased.

Celebrating at home

The city will be providing 10,000 free Canada Day-at-home kits for Calgarians: reusable bags filled with things like bubbles, beach balls and sidewalk chalk. They can be picked up at Calgary Public Library branches starting June 24, while supplies last.

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Online celebration kits can also be downloaded from the city’s website, and include children’s activities and ideas for fun things to do in neighbourhoods and at home.

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Canada Day over the airwaves

Calgary’s campus radio station, CJSW, will be bringing Canada Day programming to Calgarians over the airwaves all day on July 1, starting at 7 a.m., on 90.9 FM.

“Local and Canadian artists will be featured, showcasing musical talents,” Nenshi said.

The music lineup will include children’s entertainment, hip hop, Indigenous artists and more.

Let there be fireworks

The city will have a fireworks display for the 2021 Canada Day celebrations, Nenshi said, and will be launched from a new place: the top of Tom Campbell Hill on the north bank of the Bow River.

“That means it’ll be possible to see the fireworks from just about everywhere in Calgary,” the mayor said.

“And we encourage people to watch from your backyard, and also to get together small and safely to be able to watch from your traditional viewpoints.”

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Those who can’t attend the fireworks in person can watch them online, through a YouTube live stream. The stream is set to start at 10:55 p.m. with the fireworks show set to get underway around 11 p.m.

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The fireworks will be simulcast with music through CJSW.

“I think those fireworks will symbolize for me, as they will for many, the beginning of the next page. The beginning of the future. And so enjoy that.”

Nenshi said for those gathering with others or driving to popular viewing spots for the fireworks, that if they can’t maintain physical distancing from others, they should keep their masks on.

“Let’s not go all out. Let’s use this as a moment of celebration.”

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Nenshi reminded people that Canada Day will mark the first day of Alberta being in Stage 3 of the Open for Summer plan, and said if people aren’t two weeks out from receiving their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, they should take extra precautions. He added those who are double vaccinated plus the two weeks should still be cautious while celebrating the holiday.

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“There won’t be mass gatherings downtown. There’s not a huge stage on the riverfront as there has been in years past. My pushing of the (fireworks) button will be on the radio instead of in front of thousands of people.”

Nenshi also reminded Calgarians that while provincial public health measures are lifting on July 1, the city’s mandatory mask bylaw for indoor spaces is still in effect, and will be until at least July 5.

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