Second annual Living Flag returned to Vernon on Canada Day in 2019. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)

North Okanagan celebrates Canada Day online

Canada Day is typically a day of gatherings and celebration, but COVID-19 and provincial orders are keeping those to a minimum in order to ensure the health and well-being of all communities.

That doesn’t mean Canada’s birthday candles will burn out.

The North Okanagan Canada Day society has created a plan to celebrate virtually in the Greater Vernon Area.

Having received a grant from Heritage Canada, the society says it does not need additional funding from the city to create the virtual event.

One big difference in this year’s events will be the absence of fireworks. However, that omission will save a considerable amount of money at a time when many are struggling financially.

“Everyone loves a good fireworks show,” society president David Frost said. “But this year, with so many people and business’s fighting for survival, it’s just not socially responsible.”

Canada Day fireworks typically cost the society around $25,000. Instead, the society will be working on broadcasting O’Canada at 9 p.m., July 1.

Residents are encouraged to join in by heading outside and banging pots and pans — just like the shows of support for frontline workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contests have been created to encourage resident participation, including a colouring contest and a bike/scooter/skateboard decorating contest.

Kids who submit a photo of their decorated wheels will receive a goodie bag delivered to their door.

Businesses can also get involved.

Order a decorating package from the society and received a starter pack delivered directly. The Top 5 decorated businesses will receive a prize package for their efforts.

Other contests will see families and individuals decorating their homes or even themselves.

Residents can submit photos or a location for judging, and a prize package is in store for the Top 5 in each of the three categories.

Photos can be sent to the society on Facebook. For help with getting decorations, contact the society at nocds.1867@gmail.com.

The society has planned, funded and organized Canada Day events in the North Okanagan for the past five years.

Armstrong-Spallumcheen

Similarly, the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce has adjusted its plans to observe the day virtually.

“Canada Day will be viewed from a distance this year,” said Patti Noonan, chamber executive director.

Everything will be available to watch through the chamber’s Facebook page.

A car show will see several different clubs and members bring their vintage vehicles to town and will drive around various neighbourhoods.

There will be a virtual dance party with a DJ playing music throughout the event.

“There won’t be anything in the park but we will have all sorts of entertainment, and everything can be watched safely on our Facebook page,” Noonan said.

As part of the Canada Day countdown, the chamber’s annual Canada Day commercial contest returns with new challenges.

The chamber is inviting all local businesses, non-profit groups, residents and kids to participate in the Celebrate! Countdown to Canada Day decorating contest.

This year’s theme encompasses #CanadaTogether.

“#CanadaTogether is a national initiative to inspire, educate and engage Canadians as we band together during these times,” Noonan said.

“Decorate your storefront, yard, garden, window, patio – anything you would like — with whatever says you are proud to be Canadian. All decorations must remain up until July 2 in order for you to be eligible to win.”

The judges will be out beginning Friday, June 26, and the winners will be announced live on the Canada Day event Facebook page. Deadline to register is Thursday, June 25.

Winners for best commercial space – overall and window – will each receive an Armstrong Regional Co-operative $50 gift certificate

‘Best Detached Home’ will receive a $50 Askew’s Gift Card while ‘Best Complex’ will receive a $50 JJ’s Pizza Plus Gift Card and ‘Best Seniors Residence’ will receive a $50 Country Bakery Gift Card. To participate, email staff@aschamber.com.

READ MORE: North Westside residents ask for study to determine if they should stay in regional district

READ MORE: Vernon Main Street pedestrian mall vetoed by council


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