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Federal Canada Day 2020 celebration going virtual

Last Updated Apr 17, 2020 at 3:07 pm MST

FILE - A Canadian flag in seen in Colborne, Ont., on June 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Larry MacDougal

For July 1 celebrations, the government is working with artists and artisans on a virtual program

Canada Day will highlight the strength that unites us: minister

The annual celebration on Parliament Hill usually draws more than 10,000 people

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — Canada Day celebrations organized by the federal government will be virtual only this year.

The decision is related to the COVID-19 pandemic and was announced Friday by Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault.

“In light of the current and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Canada and around the world, our government has decided to celebrate Canada Day differently this year, in a way that will allow us to come together virtually to share our pride in being Canadian,” he says in a release.

“Since the beginning of this crisis, Canadians have shown solidarity with one another. Every day, we witness the caring, generosity and resilience of people right across the country,” he adds. “Together, we are meeting one of the greatest challenges in our history, and this year more than ever, Canada Day will highlight the strength that unites us.”

For July 1 celebrations, the federal government is working with Canadian artists and artisans to put together a virtual program that reflects the country’s diversity, values, and talent.

Vancouver’s Canada Day celebrations are organized by the Port of Vancouver.

“We are taking guidance from federal and provincial health authorities as we determine our plan for this year’s Canada Day event,” said Danielle Jang, with the port. “The health and safety of our event attendees, volunteers, sponsors, vendors and suppliers is of the utmost importance to us and we hope to be able to provide an update on our plans for Canada Day at Canada Place in the coming weeks.”

The celebration on Parliament Hill, one of the country’s largets, usually draws more than 10,000 people during the July long weekend.

Also on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government will provide $500 million in support to the arts, culture and sports sectors through Heritage Canada during the pandemic.

So far, Canada has recorded more than 31,000 cases of COVID-19, including 1,250 deaths.