Without the parade, crowds, fireworks and slice of Canada Day cake at the Old Port this year, Montrealers will have to flock to their computers to take part in a celebration that will happen entirely online.
From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., a pre-recorded concert filmed at the Olympic Stadium will be available to stream from the Montreal Canada Day website.
“What we planned is to make a show that is very intimate, very moody,” said Canada Day Montreal producer Stéphane Guertin. “It’s not made to dance. It’s like you’re having dinner with your family and you discover amazing Canadian artists.”
Martha and Rufus Wainwright will open the show by performing Canada’s national anthem.
The hour-long “unplugged” showcase will feature Canadian artists including Charlotte Cardin, Patrick Watson, Hubert Lenoir and Elisapie. Interviews with Montrealers at different city landmarks will run between performances.
For those having a small outdoor gathering with family or friends as the concert airs, the video will continue to be available online for a month after the initial stream.
Quebec City will stream pre-recorded concerts and activities for the whole family as of 9 a.m. via the event’s official website.
Les Femmes au tambour de Wendake will open the ceremony.
As the province shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most cities in Quebec cancelled official celebrations without offering virtual alternatives.
Gatherings of more than 50 people are still banned, and all parades and large festivals are cancelled this summer.
“Normally, the city would promote the event planned by our partners, but because of COVID-19, there won’t be any activities,” said Marie-Hélène Lafrance, a spokesperson for the City of Saguenay.
A national celebration, hosted by Pierre-Yves Lord and Serena Ryder, will air from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., and from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The two programs will showcase talent from across the provinces and territories.
The daytime show will feature performances from artists including Leela Gilday, Kelly Bado, Marc Hervieux and the Atlantic ballet of Canada, and the evening show includes Alanis Morissette, Loud, The Jerry Cans and many others.
“It’s been so difficult on everybody because life has not been the way it has ever been and it’s not going to be the same,” said Serena Ryder, a singer and national co-host.
“What I’d love for people to take with them is a sense of family and a sense of belonging, and a sense of being whole and being right where we’re supposed to be.”
Canada Day celebration kits are also available online to entertain kids and adults alike.
Viewers can also watch Canada Day fireworks virtually starting at 10 p.m.