All the virtual Canada Day celebrations taking place in the GTA

Jun 16 2020, 5:08 pm

Canada Day is still a couple of weeks away, but this year it will be celebrated differently.

Toronto and many other cities across the GTA have decided to go digital and bring residents a virtual celebration on the first of July.

In May, the City of Toronto cancelled all in-person Canada Day celebrations due to COVID-19.

“I would like nothing more than to celebrate Canada Day as we usually do, with friends and family and enjoying our neighbourhoods together, but we just can’t this year, out of caution and an overriding concern for public health,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement.

This however does not mean that Canada Day in Toronto and across the GTA will not be celebrated. There are many virtual events planned. Here is a list of some Canada Day celebrations you should check out:


Toronto’s Canada Day celebrations normally take place every year at Mel Lastman Square. It attracts over 30,000 spectators annually. This year the celebration is going digital.

Toronto’s virtual celebration will begin bright and early, at 9 am. Audiences will be able to stream morning, afternoon and evening shows. Downloadable interactive and all-age celebration kits will also be available. You can also nominate a frontline worker for recognition.

The day will start off by sharing a holiday breakfast with guest chefs. This event has been titled “Canadian Pancake Breakfast.” You will be able to enjoy breakfast while simultaneously tuning into performances by Jully Black, The Next Generation Leahy, and more.

After breakfast is “Culture Jam.” This will be a showcase of Toronto artists and neighbourhoods. It will feature Kardinal Offishall, Ali Hassan, Cris Derksen, and more.

Kardinal Offishall (City of Toronto)

End your day with the “Ready for Prime Time” event. This event will include “powerful, engaging, interactive” performances by Haviah Mighty, Gordon Lightfoot, and Choir! Choir! Choir!


Brampton traditionally celebrates Canada Day with its thousands of residents, in person. But this year Bramptonians are invited to celebrate online.

Events kick-off at noon. You will be able to participate in activities, ideas on how to celebrate, and entertainment.

The City of Brampton will also be providing a list of local restaurants that are offering take-out or delivery along with Canadian recipes. This will help to make your celebration extra delicious.

At 5:30 pm there will be a performance from a local Brampton artist which will be followed by a performance by a Juno Award winning artist at 7:15 pm.

The night will wrap up after a virtual fireworks display. Fireworks begin at 10 pm and are sponsored by Time Hortons and powered by snapd HUB.


From 2 pm to 5 pm on the first of July, Durham Region is inviting you to celebrate Canada the “Durham Way.” The event is in cooperation with the Region of Durham and all eight local-area municipalities. It is planned to highlight unique attractions and talents.

The event will allow for residents to come together as a community, while also practicing social distancing as the event will be available through Facebook Live and respective municipal pages.

Durham Region

The line-up includes:

  • Juno award winner Jack De Keyser
  • The President’s Choice SuperDogs animal trick show
  • Three-time Juno Award nominees Sultans of String
  • Country artist Leah Daniels
  • Children’s entertainer Jungle Jack
  • Live animal features from Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue
  • Steel pannist Aaron Roberts
  • Doug the Great (World Record) Stilt Walker

“Canada Day the Durham Way offers a chance to connect and come together in a new way—celebrating our great nation and the vibrant region we will live in. Although this year is different, communities across Durham are uniting and finding innovative ways to stay #DurhamStrong during this challenging time. I encourage everyone, from across the region, to tune in on July 1. Let’s celebrate our amazing country, together,” said John Henry, regional chair and executive officer.


The Town of Oakville has planned a full day of virtual events to celebrate Canada Day from the comfort of your own home. There will be musical performances, Canada Day themed challenges, a town-wide singing of “O Canada,” a virtual firework display, and more.

There will be performances by Oakville Symphony, Haley Marie, Burloak Theatre Group, and the Oakville Chinese Network.

There will also be pre-event giveaways and Canada Day inspired challenges on the town’s social media platforms.

You can RSVP to Oakville’s virtual Canada Day celebration on their Facebook page.


Pickering is encouraging its residents to “Light It Up,” “Dress It Up,” and “Paint It Up” this Canada Day.

Residents are asked to show their spirit by hanging red and white lights, dressing up in red and white, and hanging signs in windows.

1,500 Canada Day Spirit Kits will be distributed to pre-registered Pickering households. The kits will include a wooden Maple Leaf and all the supplies that you will need to paint it.

Spirit Kits/Pickering

There will even be an esports tournament open to all ages who have a PS4 and NHL20. You can register as a solo player or as a team of six. A Fortnite Tournament will also take place, in partnership with Next Gen ESports Centre.

If gaming isn’t your thing, you can get outdoors and participate in the Canada Day Chalk Art Contest. There will be prizes for the best “Canada Day themed” and “Interactive” entries. Pickering has also provided some recipes for chalk, using ingredients you probably have at home.

As Pickering is also a part of the Durham Region, they are also encouraging residents to tune into the “Canada Day the Durham Way” virtual celebration.


Markham has said that the health and safety of its residents and visitors is their top priority. With this in mind, the City will host its first-ever virtual Canada Day celebrations.

The City has also said that this virtual experience will unite its diverse community.

Events will include trivia, “Markham’s Great Canadian Colouring Contest,” and video submissions of residents singing “O Canada”. You can even win prizes for entering some of the events.

Residents are encouraged to dig out a Canada Day T-shirt and hat or to hang a Canadian flag over their balcony. They’ve even suggested dressing your pet up in red and white.

There will also be a selection of buildings and landmarks in Markham that will be lit up red and white on July 1.

You can get involved by:

  • Turning on your white porch light – or changing the light bulb to red!
  • Wrapping red or white decorative lights such as holiday lights around a balcony railing, on a fence, or in your garden.
  • Shining a red or white spotlight on your house or trees in your yard.

Richmond Hill

Richmond Hill is excited to bring the community an online experience this Canada Day.

Events will include Richmond Hill’s Got Talent Showcase, a Mighty Mike Show, an Interactive Dance Party, and a Fireworks Simulation Show.


Just like many other cities across the GTA, Vaughan will host its first-ever virtual Canada Day event.

“The City of Vaughan is committed to protecting the health and well-being of citizens, which is why we continue to take necessary actions to support physical distancing – including, for the first-time ever, celebrating Canada Day virtually,” Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua said. “Our signature event always draws thousands of people to share our love and patriotism for this great nation we are proud to call home.

As we deal with the new realities caused by this pandemic, we must continue to celebrate what defines us as a community and a country. Together, we will emerge stronger.”

City of Vaughan

Events will take place from 5 pm to 8 pm and allow residents to “mark this popular and much-anticipated event safely from the comfort of their own homes.”


If you still can’t find something to do on Canada Day, you can celebrate with Toronto’s Rock Station Q107. The radio station has celebrated Canada Day by throwing a picnic for the last 17 years. This year the picnic will go virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There will be performances by virtual tribute bands and fireworks. The event will be streamed online on their website.

Irelyne LaveryIrelyne Lavery

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