After debating whether they would even take place, the City of Victoria has decided that this year’s Canada Day fireworks will still go ahead — albeit with a change to reflect the Lekwungen territory they’re taking place on.
Mayor Lisa Helps provided a verbal update to council Thursday morning stating that the current plans for July 1, 2022 now include a multicultural street festival downtown beginning at noon, musical mainstage entertainment at 4 p.m. at Ship Point and then fireworks in the evening.
But instead of the national anthem playing through the fireworks, this year Lekwungen music will be worked into the presentation.
“There will be fireworks, and to kind of blend a celebration of Canada with fireworks and a recognition of Lekwungen territory, while the fireworks are going off the Lekwungen dancers, subject to inviting them and speaking with the nations, this is all just preliminary, will be performing as well,” Helps said to council.
“Usually it’s O Canada with fireworks blended and it will be rather fireworks with Lekwungen music blended.”
Helps said that a planning committee has nixed the traditional “living flag” event, however, in part because it’s “a lot of work” to organize and there are concerns about people squeezing together during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There will still be opportunities for members of the public to participate in events in some way, whether it be an interactive map of the world or photo contests, Helps said.
This year’s celebration will see Government Street closed from Humboldt to Belleville streets, and Belleville Street closed from Douglas to Menzies streets between noon and 8 p.m.
Helps noted that the mainstage celebration has been moved from the B.C. Legislature grounds to Ship Point because the city expects protesters to stage demonstrations at the legislature.
It will be the first time since the start of the pandemic that Victoria will hold in-person Canada Day celebrations.
Last year, council voted unanimously to cancel a virtual broadcast to celebrate July 1 in the wake of the discovery of unmarked graves at a former Indian residential school in Kamloops.