How Hamilton is spending Canada Day amid the COVID-19 pandemic

With no fireworks or mass celebrations, Hamilton is spending an atypical Canada Day amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residents hold vigil for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

Some Hamilton residents dressed up their doors for Canada Day as part of a city challenge. (Twitter/@AlyshaBadour)

With no fireworks or mass celebrations, Hamilton is spending a quieter Canada Day amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some residents got crafty, decorating their doors with patriotic spirit as part of a city contest.

While in-person concerts are cancelled, local musicians are still making noise on Canada Day — the City of Hamilton is putting on a one-hour broadcast of local artists, entertainers and personalities, starting at 7 p.m. ET on CHCH.

For others, however, July 1 was not a day of celebration.

A vigil in Hamilton honoured missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people, as one of several "Cancel Canada Day" events scheduled across the country.

"We will not celebrate the ongoing genocide within Canada against Indigenous people. Instead, we will gather to honour all of the lives lost to the Canadian state," says a description of the "No More Stolen Sisters" event on Facebook.

People brought red dresses to hang on trees, representing those who are missing and murdered.

"Seeing those red dresses ... flowing in the wind was really impactful​​​​​​, just knowing that those sisters were there in spirit," said Jessica Bonilla-Damptey, who attended as a member of the Sisters in Spirit Committee, representing Hamilton's Sexual Assault Centre.

As others celebrate, Bonilla-Damptey said it's important to reflect on colonization's ongoing impact on Indigenous people.

A vigil in Hamilton honoured missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people on Wednesday. (Twitter/Jessica Bonilla-Damptey)

The "Cancel Canada Day" events were in co-ordination with Idle No More, a movement fighting for the rights of Indigenous people.

Hamilton dresses up its doors 

Several residents wore Canadian pride on their doors as part of a city contest, getting creative with red and white.

First Lancaster flyover of 2020

Residents looked to the skies earlier in the day, as Canada's only flying Lancaster World War II-era bomber took off from Hamilton for a flyover.

The bomber's first flight of the year was dedicated to the memory of Captain Jenn Casey, a public affairs officer for the Canadian Forces Snowbirds who died on May 17 in Kamloops, B.C., when the aircraft she was in crashed after takeoff, as well as the Snowbirds' 50th anniversary.

On Wednesday night, a live broadcast will highlight Hamilton artists like JUNO-winning The Dirty Nil, John Ellison, Hamilton Children's Choir, and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra Brass Quintet, as well as Harrison Kennedy, Terra Lightfoot, Queen Cee and Tom Wilson. 


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Account Holder

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?