District of Port Hardy cancels Canada Day celebrations

Canada Day celebrations will not be going ahead in Port Hardy, B.C. this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The District of Port Hardy, on the northern tip of Vancouver Island, has become another municipality in B.C. to cancel its Canada Day celebrations this year.

Councillor Treena Smith said she made the motion to support the Port Hardy Chamber of Commerce in cancelling the event.

The Chamber wrote a letter to Mayor Dennis Dugas after the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

“Through the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, many survivors’ stories have been heard, but this physical evidence of the atrocities of residential schools brings to the forefront the extensive work still required to right the wrongs of the past,” the Chamber said in the letter.

They said holding a Canada Day event at this time would not be “appropriate or respectful.”

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They want to use the funds that would be spent hosting and participating in the event to support their local Indigenous community.

“The letter was thoughtful and I am hopeful this will help bring awareness as we all work towards truth and reconciliation,” Smith said in a statement to Global News.

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Victoria cancels Canada Day celebration

Penticton and Kelowna will also not be hosting Canada Day festivities this year.

“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.

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Victoria city council also cancelled Canada Day festivities in the wake of the discovery of 215 unmarked children’s graves.

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B.C. marks National Indigenous Peoples Day with calls for change

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.

— with files from Jules Knox

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