By Laura Keil

Despite the Province lifting the fireworks ban June 18th, both McBride and Valemount have cancelled their usual Canada Day celebrations, including fireworks. But alternative ideas are already in play.

Village CAO Wayne Robinson said Canada Day events generally result in more than 50 people congregating, which surpasses the current limit for public gatherings.

“It is disappointing to everyone that this year’s Canada Celebration must be cancelled. This is an event we all look forward to every year for the community and as another excellent opportunity to showcase Valemount to our many visitors that choose to enjoy Canada Day here. However, with COVID19 being a reality, we have a responsibility to ensure that people adhere to Dr. Bonnie Henry’s (Public Health Officer) recommendations.”

He said despite the Province’s easing of restrictions, COVID-19 is still a very real public health emergency.

“By displaying fireworks, we could be seen as actively promoting a large gathering which is sending the wrong message to the public and goes against the PHO’s orders,” he said.

Dannielle Alan from McBride’s Chamber of Commerce said they have funds for fireworks from Heritage Canada and they hope to have a Canada Day fireworks display when restrictions lift. It just won’t be on Canada Day.

Instead, the Chamber and visitor centre are planning to mark the day on the Visitor Centre facebook page and, with some help from vintage car enthusiast Glen Frear, are also planning an informal vintage car procession and show ‘n shine the following Saturday, July 4th from 4-6pm.

As of presstime June 22nd, the plan was for cars to assemble at the Rec Centre and Village parking lots and follow a route that criss-crosses town with a special drive by the hospital and Beaverview Lodge to celebrate the community, seniors, first responders and essential workers plus Canada Day, Alan says.

Cars will head down Main St, turn onto 5th avenue, around the crescent to Dominion St, back to circle the hospital parking lot then back onto fifth across Main St and snake back and forth along the avenues between Dominion St and Columbia St so most residents can view the procession from their front yards. After the procession, vintage cars are invited to park along Main St and First avenue, up to and in the parking lot of the Gigglin’ Grizzly Pub, well spaced out so that people can wander around and socialize while still practicing social distancing, she says.

The Chamber and Visitor Centre have sent invitations to the RCMP, Village and the Fire Dept to participate.

“We can still have fun, we can still get out and about but we stay physically distanced. Just get out of the house. Any opportunity to celebrate this wonderful country we live in and the fabulous people that make it so!”

Alan says Canada Day events may happen in tandem with a postponed Pioneer Days. The Pioneer Days committee is eyeing the fall for a postponed festival, if public health measures allow it.