For many years, Sudburians have flocked to the two major Canada Day parties in the city — the food festival at the Sudbury Arena put on by the Sudbury Multicultural Folk Art Association and a major celebration with music, food and fireworks at Science North.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, neither of those events will be happening this year. There won’t even be fireworks, as they’re prohibited under a bylaw amendment made by Greater Sudbury city council back in May.
To make the best of the situation, Science North has teamed up with the multicultural association, along with Northern Lights Festival Boréal — which also had to cancel its upcoming festival due to the pandemic — and the City of Greater Sudbury to put on a virtual event, which runs 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. July 1.
Watch the live-streamed event here.
On the schedule is everything from science demonstrations to performances by groups representing the many ethnicities that call Greater Sudbury home to musical performances by local and internationally-known musicians.
Blue Rodeo fans should note that the evening’s headliner is Jim Cuddy. (View the full schedule below).
Lora Clausen, Science North’s manager of northern initiatives, explains that for safety reasons, no one is actually gathering in person to perform — the segments for the July 1 broadcast will all be pre-recorded.
“You know, we always love to of course host a grand celebration on our grounds at Science North on Canada Day,” Clausen said.
“But this has given us a really great opportunity to celebrate in a very different way. It has brought a lot of great partnerships to the forefront.”
Sudbury Multicultural Folk Arts Association president Bela Ravi said the group was actually already in talks with Science North to collaborate on their Canada Day celebrations.
Performances by multicultural groups is typically part of the multicultural association’s celebration at the Sudbury Arena, and Ravi said she’s glad at least that part of the event will continue this year.
As for the food fest, which is a fundraiser for the multicultural association’s member groups, Ravi is hoping it can take place later this year.
She said it is “tough” that the group’s traditional Canada Day event won’t happen this year due to the pandemic.
But “out of difficult times come things like this,” Ravi said. “There are four groups collaborating to do this. More and more collaborations are good for everybody.”
Canada Day virtual event schedule:
2-2:30 p.m. - Opening remarks with dignitaries, O’Canada sung by Ashanti Hanna, Indigenous Opening Ceremony
2:30-4 p.m. - Multicultural performances, local theatre, musicians and artists, science shows, community organization tutorials and performances. Participants include YES Theatre, Baladi National Dance Studio, India-Canada Association of Sudbury, Happiness is Dancing, Afro-Madness Drum Troupe, Northern Latin Flavour Dancers, Mino Bimaadizwin Dance Troupe, Irish Heritage Club of Sudbury, Chinese Community Dance Group and Indigenous Tourism Ontario
6-7 p.m. - Song Circle Workshop with Lennie Gallant, Amanda Rheaume, Cindy Doire and Duncan Cameron
7:10-7:55 p.m. - Performances by Patricia Cano and Jim Cuddy