Multicultural Council going virtual with this year’s Canada Day celebration

The Prince Albert Multicultural Council's Canada Day celebrations will take place online this year instead of at its normal location along the riverbank. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

People in the Prince Albert and surrounding area can still take part in a local Canada Day celebration this year, although it will look different than what we’re used to.

Instead of diving into a burger or a poutine while listening to your favourite bands along the riverbank, you can enjoy local performances and follow along to activities from the comfort of your own home.

The Prince Albert Multicultural Council (PAMC), partnered with the City of Prince Albert, is hosting a virtual celebration because the provincial government has restricted gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s not the usual celebration outdoors, but we thought it might be nice to still get together and celebrate Canada Day, because it’s a special event for our country, in our own respective homes, safely,” said Michelle Hassler, executive director of the PAMC.

Hassler said organizers were holding on to hope that the event would be a go, but the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan suggested otherwise. Limits on gatherings will be in place until phase five of the plan, and phase two just began on Tuesday.

“We’ve come…to a decision as soon as possible because it’s already May,” she said.

“We kind of anticipated that this was not going to happen in two months, so we had to act quickly for the good of everybody and for us to be able to plan our next steps.”

The PAMC also hit a roadblock in 2019’s event when a downpour put much of the event on hold.

“We’ve hit a few challenges for the last couple of years, but we’re still holding up and all we want is to give our community a wonderful Canada Day celebration,” said Hassler.

It may be virtual, but the event will contain the same events as the in-person celebration held along the riverbank last year: An opening ceremony and singing of O Canada, family friendly concerts, multicultural performances, a Reconciliation & Learning Ceremony from the Prince Albert Grand Council, online activities and other demonstrations.

Performances include Dean Smith Band, The Bush Pies, Oscar’s Hollow and The Matt Remenda Ensemble. The PAMC will be posting the full lineup to its Facebook page soon.

The event will be streamed on the PAMC’s Facebook page on July 1. It will kick off at noon and continue until 9:30 p.m.

Hassler is also encouraging as much online community interaction, which she hopes to do partly through video submissions.

She said the public can create a one to three minute long video showing how you’re going to be celebrating Canada Day or your favourite activity to keep yourself busy during the pandemic. The PAMC will show as many videos as possible on Canada Day, but will choose three as the winners.

“It can be a song; it can be a dance; it can be an activity; it can be cooking; it can be baking. Children, families, whatever videos,” said Hassler.

You can submit through the PAMC’s Facebook page or email until June 12.

The Prince Albert branch of the Royal Canadian Legion has cancelled its Canada Day celebrations in Kinsmen Park, as well as the Decoration Day ceremonies on June 2.

“Due to the current COVID-19 circumstances, our branch wants to ensure we are following the federal and provincial government’s guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to help keep our community safe,” said Branch President Rick Hodgson in a news release last week.

“Canada Day is a big event for our community and our branch. We look forward to celebrating both events again in 2021.”