Canada Day this year is probably going to be a little quieter than usual. Speaking on Monday, Mayor Jim Watson discussed the possibility of Canada Day in Ottawa getting cancelled, due to COVID-19 concerns. While nothing is certain, Watson admitted that July’s usual celebrations would be very unlikely.
In an interview with CTV News at Six on Monday, Mayor Watson explained that the chances of things returning to normal by July were slim, and therefore urged local communities to refrain from using money and resources to make plans for July 1.
“I think realistically, I don’t think we’re going to have the kind of Canada Day celebration that we all wanted and we’ve all seen in years gone by,” he said.
The City of Ottawa, like Toronto, has already prohibited all events, festivals and public gatherings until at least June 30, but there’s still potential for this date to be extended further.
“I’m not sure if between June 30 and July 1 there’s going to be a big difference in terms of us dealing with this virus successfully and eliminating the risk to the public,” Watson explained.
Ottawa boasts one of the largest celebrations of Canada Day across the country, with events taking place across the downtown region and Gatineau.
In the midst of this fight against COVID-19, the City of Ottawa - like all municipalities across the country - is h… https://t.co/4Iv6UW98u0— Jim Watson (@Jim Watson) 1586198390.0
While the partying usually continues throughout the long weekend, Watson is urging people not to make any plans just yet.
“My best advice is, certainly for the community groups, not to incur any or very few expenses because there is a likelihood that July 1 celebrations would not take place and you would be wasting a significant amount of resources and money,” he said on Monday.
“I think it’s going to be a real challenge,” he added.
Watson's comments come as several huge, annual events in Ottawa are being cancelled, postponed, and redirected.
In 2020, there will be no TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, and the popular spring Tulip Festival, which is the largest of its kind in the world, will move online instead.
For the time being, Ottawa Bluesfest has not been affected, but organizers are urging locals to stay at home, so that the July event has the "best possible chance" of going ahead.
@MisterOttawa @jchianello Heritage Canada— Jim Watson (@Jim Watson) 1586211566.0
In a tweet, Mayor Watson confirmed that it would be up to Heritage Canada to make the final call about the Canada Day event.