Penticton and Kelowna will not be hosting Canada Day festivities this year, although the cities are citing different reasons for the cancellation.
“Out of respect for Indigenous communities across Canada who are grieving, it is important to Penticton city council that this year’s Canada Day activities honour the history, culture and traditions of Indigenous people,” Penticton mayor John Vassilaki said in a statement.
“Given time constraints and ongoing gathering restrictions that protect us during the pandemic, the city is not able to offer Canada Day activities that we consider appropriate.”
Vassilaki is encouraging families to spend time together and reflect on Canada’s history.
“Consider what we can each do to work towards an inclusive community,” he said.
Victoria city council also cancelled Canada Day festivities in the wake of the discovery of 215 unmarked children’s graves at the former Kamloops Residential School.
Festivals Kelowna has also announced that this year’s Canada Day celebration is cancelled.
The organization noted that larger outdoor gatherings will only be permitted on July 1 at the earliest.
“The Kelowna Canada Day celebration is one of the largest in our province at over 65,000 guests attending each year across multiple indoor and outdoor venues,” Festivals Kelowna said on its website.
“As such, preparing for such a sizeable, complex event requires a longer lead time than is currently available to us.”
Festivals Kelowna is encouraging residents to support local restaurants, breweries and wineries after a tough year because of COVID restrictions.
The organizations said the decision to postpone the Canada Day festival until 2022 was made jointly with the City of Kelowna.