Ottawa’s Canada Day celebrations cancelled due to coronavirus, virtual program planned

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The federal government officially canned its annual Canada Day celebrations on Friday, opting to instead take the party online amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault confirmed Friday that Canada Day celebrations in the nation’s capital and across the country will not move ahead in person due to the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, Canadian Heritage is planning a virtual show that will see Canadians tune in remotely to performances and other programming on July 1.

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“For Canada Day 2020, we are working with Canadian artists and artisans to put together a virtual program, reflecting our diversity and values, and showcasing the immense talent our country has to offer,” Guilbeault wrote in a statement.

Ottawa’s annual Canada Day party was already set to be moved off Parliament Hill this year in light of construction work taking place on Centre Block.

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Mayor Jim Watson had cast doubt in recent weeks about the likelihood of any public event to celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa amid physical-distancing guidelines to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

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