From mobile concerts to virtual fireworks on your phone: Canada Day in the North COVID-19 style

Not this year Yellowknife, or anywhere across the North. Gatherings like at the Canada Day celebrations in Yellowknife on 2016 are not on tap for July 1 this year because of COVID-19. (Walter Strong/CBC)

If Canada Day in the North normally means fun under the midnight sun, parades, street vendors and large crowds of friends, family, neighbours and strangers — there’s always next year.

This year’s July 1 celebrations will be much more pandemic friendly. In each of the territories’ capitals plans are set to make the most of physically distant jubilation.


In Iqaluit, the city will kick off the day with a mobile concert — watch from a distance please — featuring local artists that will be driven through city streets and to the nearby community of Apex. The concert starts at 11:30 a.m. and goes until 3:30 p.m. The exact concert route will be announced soon.

But that’s not all — you can have your cake and eat it too. The city will also host a virtual cake decorating contest. People can send photos of their fancy cakes to Iqaluit’s Recreation Facebook page to enter. Entries will be accepted between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on July 1, with the winner announced the next day.

Other Iqaluit events include:

  • A virtual fun run with two routes to be announced. It’s a scout’s honour event though — participants are asked to submit their run times later for the win.
  • A kids bike decorating contest at multiple locations in the city.
  • A virtual vehicle decoration contest where you decorate your car and post photos of it on the city’s recreation Facebook page.

For the latest information on events in Iqaluit visit City of Iqaluit Recreation on Facebook.

Also not this year. There’ll be no Canada Day parade in Iqaluit. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

July 1 will mark a new phase in Yukon’s COVID-19 response — residents from B.C., the N.W.T. and Nunavut will be able to visit the territory without self-isolating once there (with some caveats) — but they won’t be able to take part in a local tradition.

That’s because the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 254 in Whitehorse won’t be hosting the Canada Day parade and celebration it normally does. The Legion announced the cancellation back on April 27, saying there was no way to plan for the event given the pandemic.

But the Legion has announced virtual celebrations including a virtual fireworks — on your phone!

The details of the virtual fireworks aren’t finalized, but basically at 10 p.m. you should be able point your phone or tablet at the sky and see the show.

For more information on other Canada Day events in Whitehorse, visit the Legion’s Facebook page.


On tap for Yellowknife is Canada Day online. The parade and general downtown celebration is cancelled but residents are asked — by Austin Marshall, chair of the Rotary’s Canada Day Parade Committee — to decorate themselves and their homes and share photos of the result on the Rotary Club Facebook event page YK Canada Day @ Home.

Every one who submits a photo on Canada day about their celebrations will be eligible for prize.

“Many things have changed since March 2020, but our love for Canada isn’t one of them,” said Marshall in a news release.

For more information on what’s happening in Yellowknife on July 1, visit the Rotary Club’s Facebook page, or read this. Maybe do both.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada at “pivotal” moment when it comes to Arctic, says minister of Northern Affairs, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: How not to promote Arctic tourism – Why Finland’s Indigenous Sami say marketing their region needs to change, Eye on the Arctic special report

Russia: Russia removes critical voices ahead of Arctic Council chairmanship, claims Indigenous peoples expert, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sami indigenous village wins historic land use case over Swedish state, Radio Sweden

United States: US Senate passes bill with funds for missing and murdered Indigenous women, CBC News

Walter Strong, CBC News

For more news from Canada visit CBC News.

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