(Canada Day 2019 on the grounds of Sacred Heart High School. Councillor Glen Gower and Tanya Hein, President of the Stittsville Village Association, cut the Canada Day cake as Nancy and Luke Therrien, SVA board members, look on. Photo: Stittsville Central)
Canada Day celebrations in Stittsville, for the second year in a row, will be affected by COVID-19 and the recent Indigenous lives lost to residential schools. The Stittsville Village Association (SVA) and its many dedicated volunteers are the masters at putting on a great daytime show for families in celebration of the national holiday, along with an evening filled with dazzling fireworks. This year, the SVA are asking residents to reflect on our past history and respect regulations in place for COVID-19.
Canada Day 2021 has suddenly found itself in a difficult spot with just days left until the calendar turns to July 1st. It has become a profound thought provoking situation. Calls to cancel the celebration have gained momentum, with Indigenous peoples and others asking that it be a day to reflect on the injustices inflicted on Indigenous people, including the lives lost at residential schools.
Tanya Hein, President of SVA, shared with Stittsville Central, “we’ve opted not to hold a Canada Day celebration this year for a number of reasons, including that limitations on public gatherings are still in place, and also because many of our participants are children who haven’t yet had a chance to be vaccinated.
“More significantly, we also really have to stop and reflect on this country’s foundation, and what it has cost Indigenous communities. I think a lot of eyes and minds have finally been opened to taking a deeper look at, and responsibility for, our real history, the ongoing story, the lives lost and altered, the inequitable systems that have been created, and what we can do to move forward in a meaningful way.
“Canada Day in Stittsville has always been about community, and so even if we could go forward with our usual celebration from a public health perspective, I think our efforts would be better spent contemplating the loss and trauma that some members of our community have endured, and to respect the mourning that’s happening here and across the country.”
You may have been looking to put COVID-19 behind you on July 1st due to the Step 2 reopening and the start to summer, but marking Canada Day in your own way this year could be more meaningful. Canada Day is a time for thoughtful reflection and examination of what it means to be Canadian.
No matter how you choose to celebrate our country on July 1st, Stittsville Central wishes you a Happy Canada Day.
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