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Canada Day celebration coming back to the the capital this year

Victoria seeking local First Nations’ involvement in July 1 events; fireworks returning
Vancouver Island First Nations and supporters gather near Victoria’s Inner Harbour and at the legislature in the summer of 2021 to honour 215 children who never came home from a Kamloops residential school. Events marking the discovery replaced Canada Day events last year, but traditional city organized events, with heavy First Nations involvement, may return for 2022. (Black Press Media file photo)

With many details still being worked out, Victoria says its Canada Day celebration will once again include fireworks, but this year’s events will also have a strong focus on the inclusion of local First Nations and highlighting multiculturalism.

Mayor Lisa Helps updated the preliminary Canada Day plans during the city’s Jan. 20 committee of the whole meeting.

A multicultural street fair and festival with artisan vendors will kick off Victoria’s events, running from noon to 8 p.m. Government Street between Humboldt and Belleville streets will be closed, along with a stretch of Belleville between Douglas and Menzies streets.

Helps said the city will work with a number of local groups to ensure the street fair is “as vibrant and inclusive as possible.”

Music will be played from a main stage at Ship Point. That location was chosen because the city expects people will want to protest at the B.C. legislature – where pairs of shoes graced the building’s steps for months last year to honour the Indigenous children who never came home.

Helps said there’s been discussion about a canoe protocol taking place, with Ship Point being the endpoint.

It’s proposed there could then be a ceremonial opening of the music stage that would be performed by Lekwungen dancers.

Helps plans to reach out to the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations to get more details on what their communities would like to do and how they want to participate and shape the day.

Instead of the national anthem, the plan is to have Lekwungen music playing during the fireworks display.

The public can expect various opportunities to participate and engage in the events, but the proposed plans are preliminary and more details will come.

The Canada Day subcommittee, which includes some councilors and city staff, was given authority by council to plan the day’s events.

READ: No Canada Day events in Victoria, out of respect for First Nations

READ: Canada Day festivities among the latest coronavirus cuts

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