5 ways to safely celebrate Canada Day 2020 in and around Calgary

This year, Canada Day celebrations won’t be quite the same in the city.

Even though the province announced Tuesday morning — on the eve of Canada Day — that it’s raising outdoor gathering restrictions from 100 to 200 people, health professionals are still warning people to adhere to public health restrictions.

But that doesn’t mean there won’t be anything to do.

The CBC compiled five ways you can safely spend your Canada Day:

1) Visit local attractions

Many Calgary attractions will be open on Wednesday, though with capacity restrictions in place due to COVID-19.

Those include Heritage Park, the Calgary Zoo, Cobbs Corn Maze, Calgary Skyline Luge and Butterfield Acres. Some activities require tickets to be purchased in advance.

There will be a Canada Day food truck drive-thru from 12 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday at both Spruce meadows in lots 7 and 8 and at the Grey Eagle Casino overflow parking lot.

Strathmore is also hosting a Canada Day Fireworks event (though it has been postponed by a day) on July 2 at 11 p.m.

In Airdrie, the city is hosting a Canada Day home decorating contest

2) Spend time outside — but plan ahead

If you plan to go for a hike, plan ahead, and make back-up plans too.

Parks Canada is expecting many regional visitors from Alberta and British Columbia on Wednesday, especially since there will be free admission into the parks. Some hotspots might be particularly busy, like Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and Lake Minnewanka.

A Parks Canada spokesperson said it’s important people remember to make alternative plans in case it is too busy or there isn’t any parking available.

Most attractions will be open, including most campgrounds, visitor centres (though staff will be in front of buildings, as the buildings will be closed to public) along with day-use areas and trails. Be sure to check trail conditions online before heading out for a hike.

Some day-use areas like Lake Louise will have limited parking to enable proper physical distancing measures at the site. Parking situations will be updated on some road signs and on the park’s website. Shuttle operations are closed for the summer. 

Parks is also reminding people to practice physical distancing measures while out and as always, to give wildlife their distance too. People should remember to make noise while on the trails so animals aren’t surprised by you and to stop and pull over your vehicle only to allow wildlife to cross.

Canada Day is a great opportunity to experience Canada Parks free of charge but plan ahead and be sure to follow physical distancing measures, says a Parks spokesperson. (Corey Myke)

3) Stay in and tune in 

If you choose to stay home, there will still be plenty of livestreamed celebrations to watch, including CBC’s Canada Day special.

Canadian Heritage also has an online celebration kit to keep people of all ages busy, including recipes to try and a virtual fireworks display. Following the links on its website and at 10 p.m. on July 1, people can point their smartphones to the sky to see a  three-minute show displaying 3D fireworks.

People can also join Calgary’s Muslim community virtually by joining the groups’ Canada Day celebrations at celebratecanada.ca.

4) Watch a virtual concert

There will be a virtual concert from the rooftop of the King Eddy. It will begin streaming at 5 p.m. on the city’s YouTube and Facebook pages. The pre-recorded concert is set to feature performances from Paul Brandt, Lynn Olagundoye, T. Buckley, Chad VanGaalen and Bebe Buckskin.

For more Canadian music, check out CBC Calgary’s playlist of Canadian artists here.

5) Be part of the light show

The Calgary Tower will be lit up on Wednesday evening and residents are encouraged to turn on their own Christmas or balcony lights by 10 p.m. (sunset). People are also encouraged to decorate their homes, yard or balcony in red and white. 

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