Canada Day in Calgary will look different than it did pre-pandemic as the province enters Stage 3 of its Open for Summer plan.
Calgary plans to still have a mask bylaw in place until at least July 5 — meaning that in all public indoor spaces or vehicles, masks must be worn.
The city still plans to have some Canada Day festivities, like a firework celebration, but will not hold the usual Canada Day events at Prince’s Island Park.
Nenshi discourages crowds
Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the city will also not be encouraging large crowds downtown.
“That’s the first day [July 1] COVID restrictions are lifted. So I hope that people will get out and enjoy the community, but still be prudent and thoughtful about it,” he told The Homestretch.
He said that despite COVID-19 data and vaccination rates looking good, the city wants to ensure it is in a better position before lifting the mask bylaw, especially due to the emerging delta variant.
“This delta variant is resistant to only one dose of the vaccine. You really do need two and so we want to make sure that the second doses are in good shape,” he said.
Premier Jason Kenney said Wednesday he has tried to work closely with municipalities to keep COVID messaging consistent and that it’s “not helpful” that Calgary will continue to have a mask bylaw when the province removes most restrictions on July 1.
Nenshi said that a couple of weeks difference means a couple of weeks to get more COVID-19 data.
“Frankly, [the premier] probably should pick more important fights,” Nenshi said.
He added that the city also wanted to be thoughtful about children under the age of 12 who are not yet able to get vaccinated.
“The [province has] really not made a correct decision yet on when to start restrictions, when to stop,” Nenshi said.
“I’ll remind everyone that we pulled back on the restrictions too early in February, leading to the highest infection rates in the world this spring here in Alberta.”
What you can do this Canada Day
The mayor said it’s still perfectly fine if people do want to get out and do things to mark the country’s birthday next week.
“There’s no huge gathering downtown, but you can come downtown, support a local business, you know, go for lunch, get an ice cream, check out Studio Bell and just celebrate all the wonderful things about this city,” he said.
He added that as long as numbers look good, they can lift restrictions broadly possibly on July 5, or a week or two later.
In a release, the city said before then there’s still a variety of things Calgarians can do to enjoy Canada Day safely from their home and community.
This year’s firework display will be set off from Tom Campbell’s Hill, which is in the city’s northeast, and will be visible over a wider area of the city.
The fireworks will also be live streamed on the city’s website for those who watch to watch from home.
“If you have a view of downtown Calgary and particularly the north bank of the river, they’re going to be very high this year. So you’ll be able to see them from where you are,” Nenshi said.
According to the release, the city is also providing a “Fun-at-Home kit” filled with freebies that can be picked up at a Calgary Public Library location. The city is also highlighting that attractions like the Calgary Zoo, TELUS Spark Science Centre, Heritage Park and Studio Bell National Music Centre will all be open.