A low-key Canada Day is in the works for Vernon this July 1. But some high profile acknowledgement is being called for in the future.
The North Okanagan Canada Day Society (NOCDS) is joining forces with O’Keefe Ranch to offer celebratory cupcakes, Canadian flags and set up a heritage information booth for visitors. But there is no mention of fireworks.
Meanwhile, the province’s capital cancelled its Canada Day celebrations in light of the recent discovery of 215 Indigenous children’s bodies under the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
Vernon council agreed to support the local Canada Day celebration, but one councillor is calling for recognition of the heinous discovery for 2022.
Coun. Kelly Fehr made a motion at the Monday, June 14 council meeting that Canada Day in 2022 include Indigenous representation, territory acknowledgement and, “recognition of the devastating impacts the residential school discovery has had on Indigenous populations in Canada.”
For this year, the Canada Day Society is getting $2,000 from the city to help cover costs.
All July 1 events will adhere to current COVID-19 protocols as directed by the provincial health officer.
The province says July 1 is the earliest Step 3 of the B.C. Restart Plan can be implemented, pending at least 70 per cent of the population (18 and older) are vaccinated with dose one. As of June 14, 76 per cent of B.C.’s adults have had their first dose. This stage would see increased capacity at indoor and outdoor events allowing the operation of fairs and festivals.
“Unfortunately this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are still inhibited from holding what would be a normal outdoor celebration,” NOCDS president Dave Frost said in a letter to the City of Vernon’s mayor and council.
In its adherence to COVID-19 protocols, NOCDS isn’t planning on bringing in any third-party vendors or attractions. Instead, the society’s volunteers will handle decorations and the setup of information booths. NOCDS was established in 2016 to organize the July 1 event.