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County supports scaled-back Canada Day

June 16, 2021

Municipality reinvesting federal grant, opening conversation about future July 1 celebrations

The municipality is considering options for Canada Day following a community group’s decision not to proceed with events this year.

The Canada Day Committee, a volunteer group that has been supported by the Picton and Wellington recreation committees and the Business Improvement Associations (BIAs), announced last week that it did not wish to host events out of respect to the ongoing truth and reconciliation process with Indigenous peoples.

Mayor Steve Ferguson says he respects the decision of the Canada Day Committee and thanks the volunteers for the work in the past organizing activities on July 1. The municipality is looking to reinvest its financial contributions in Canada Day events that are already being organized by others in the community and planned for that day.

“Canada Day is about much more than marking the anniversary of Confederation. It’s a celebration of the ideals we strive to uphold as Canadians, those of freedom, dignity, and respect for all,” Mayor Ferguson says. “Like all nations, Canada grapples with a tragic past and troubling present, as we were reminded of in recent weeks with the discovery of remains of Indigenous children at a residential school in Kamloops and the attack on a Muslim family in London, Ontario. Canada Day, though, should be a day when we recognize our imperfections and actively renew our commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive community for all.”

The Canada Day Committee had not planned in-person community activities this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. The committee intended to erect art installations in Picton and Wellington using Celebrate Canada grant funding that the municipality received from the Government of Canada. The committee volunteers have indicated the proposed art installations will not move ahead this year; however, the municipality has confirmed it will cover the artist’s costs using existing community grant funds.

The municipality is looking at ways to reinvest the federal Canada Day grant funding it received this year into local artists and programming that honours the diverse history of Canada. Options are limited given the short notice of the Canada Day Committee and the requirement that the funding be used for activities happening on July 1; however, the municipality expects to make an announcement in the coming days.

Also on July 1, the municipality will launch an online public consultation on the future of Canada Day celebrations in Prince Edward County. With larger in-person gatherings expected to return by next year, the municipality wants to start gathering ideas about what Canada Day could look like in 2022. Do you want to see a tribute to local heroes? Greater focus on Indigenous history? A celebration of local arts and culture? Be sure to submit your thoughts by July 31.

For more information, contact the County of Prince Edward at 613.476.2148 extension 1023, 613.962.9108 extension 1023, or info@pecounty.on.ca.

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