Greater Sudbury turning to online platform to mark Canada Day

A few of Sudbury's favourite Canada Day celebrations have altered their plans this year due to the pandemic. Three organizations partnered with the City of Greater Sudbury to present an virtual celebration this year.

Four partners team up to offer science shows, cultural performances, concerts July 1

Canada Day 2020 in Greater Sudbury will be a virtual event with cultural performances, science shows and concerts. (Supplied Science North)

COVID-19 has put the brakes on most typical Canada Day celebrations.

In Greater Sudbury, several organizations have partnered together to put a new twist on some of the city's favourites.

The Canada Day virtual event is hosted by Science North, the Sudbury Multicultural & Folk Arts Association, the City of Greater Sudbury and Northern Lights Festival Boreal.

"We knew that hosting a virtual event would be a very safe way of still celebrating Canada Day with our community and...following public health and safety guidelines and regulations," says Lora Clausen, senior scientist with Science North. 

"It's still a very special day that we all need to celebrate as a community."

Moving the festivities online means there's potential for a much larger audience.

"It certainly is exciting to be able to open it up to beyond the boundaries of the Sudbury community, because of course being online it can extend much further than the Sudbury community reach," she said.

"And it'll be a really great opportunity to present what Sudbury is all about."

During the livestream, Science North will provide science shows and has posted videos of some at-home activities for youth to try.

"It's really brought us an opportunity to bring all of these different groups together and blend our celebrations and provide a great virtual event," Clausen said.

Cultural dances like this one performed at the Sudbury Arena on Canada Day in 2016, will be online for the virtual celebration this year. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

The Sudbury Multicultural & Folk Arts Association is in charge of the cultural performances during the livestream.

President Bela Ravi says the dance groups and troops have pre-recorded their performances so they were able to keep physical distance from others.

"I've heard they have been amazing. I'll be a good show, we're going to reach more people than ever," she said.

International cuisine at a later day

The other favourite part of the Canada Day celebration at the arena is the international cuisine, but Ravi says that will have to wait for another time.

"We as Sudbury multicultural are looking to do an event with cultural international cuisine down the line if things open up. We are planning an event. We're just in initial stages still, no definite plans, but we will do a food event if everything goes well in the fall," Ravi said.

Instead on Canada Day, nine local restaurants will be open and will have delivery or curbside pick-up available.

"Remember all the restaurants have been hurting through all this," Ravi.

It's really brought us an opportunity to bring all these different groups together and blend our celebrations.- Lora Clausen, senior scientist at Science North

She also points out that despite the changes because of COVID-19, Sudbury's Canada Day celebrations this year can be accessed by many more than just local residents.

"Some miracles come out of when things are going wrong," she said.

"People who couldn't make it to the celebrations will be able to see it."

Ravi is hopeful the online component will continue in future years once the Sudbury Multicultural and Folks Arts Association can return its event to the arena.

The Northern Lights Festival Boreal is cancelled for the 2020 season. However, the festival is providing musical performances during Greater Sudbury's Canada Day virtual event on July 1. (City of Greater Sudbury)

Northern Lights Festival Boreal is also a partner for the virtual Canada Day celebration in Greater Sudbury. It will provide the musical performances during the evening livestream, including Jim Cuddy and Patricia Cano.

The virtual Canada Day from Greater Sudbury will be livestreamed July 1 on Science North's website and Facebook page, between 2 p.m and 4 p.m and then 6 p.m to 8 p.m.

Other northeastern Ontario Canada Day plans

Throughout the rest of northeastern Ontario, Timmins will also be holding a virtual Canada Day celebration. 

North Bay is hosting a colouring contest, a sing along and a pre-recorded fireworks show.

Sault-Ste Marie has cancelled its outdoor festivities, but is encouraging residents to decorate their homes and share pictures.

With files from Karine Beaulieu


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