Few options for Thompson-Okanagan residents this Canada Day | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Few options for Thompson-Okanagan residents this Canada Day

FILE PHOTO - Don't expect to see crowds on Canada Day this year, as public health measures are partially lifted July 1, 2021.

If you're looking for something to do during Canada Day, you might be on your own this year as public health restrictions have limited events across the Thompson Okanagan.

Between Kamloops and the Okanagan, only Vernon will have a public Canada Day event this year, with the North Okanagan Canada Day Society holding a three-hour event at O'Keefe Ranch.

Vernon's Canada Day at the historic ranch will include a parade, live music and other entertainment, featuring the ranch's role play actors, according to a media release from the Canada Day society.

Among the events and tours at the site, the Greenhow Museum will open an exhibit titled "Where Are the Children," in recognition of Canada's colonial history and the Indian residential school system.

The July 1 event at O'Keefe Ranch will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

READ MORE: Do-it-yourself fireworks this July 1 could be expensive

Other communities in the region, including Kelowna and Penticton, have cancelled their annual public events, so Okanagan residents will miss out on another year of Canada Day fireworks. Last year's were cancelled by public health orders because of the pandemic.

Kamloops, however, will be hosting a virtual Canada Day. With a focus on all-ages entertainment and opportunities for Indigenous cultural education, Kamloops residents are invited to join in on the event.

It will open with remarks from Mayor Ken Christian, Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir and Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod.

The livestreamed event will begin at 11 a.m., July 1.

To the south, Festivals Kelowna cancelled its annual Canada Day events due to COVID-19 risks.

READ MORE: Indigenous leaders call for Canada Day reflection

According to its website, the event usually attracts up to 65,000 people. Although public health restrictions are expected to be partially lifted on July 1, Festivals Kelowna is expecting to instead plan for smaller celebrations in the fall.

Penticton also cancelled events, instead citing both the ongoing pandemic and the sensitivity of recent weeks for Indigenous communities across the country.

“Out of respect for Indigenous communities across Canada who are grieving, it is important to Penticton city council that this year’s Canada Day activities honour the history, culture and traditions of Indigenous people," Mayor John Vassilaki said in a statement, June 18.

This year, many throughout the Thompson Okanagan are on their own to determine what Canada Day celebrations will be for them, but one sure thing is that finding reprieve from the heat may be the most popular way to spend Canada Day this year.

Go here for more information from the City of Kamloops for the Virtual Canada Day schedule and where to watch the livestream.

—With files from Carli Berry and Rob Munro.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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