July 1 marks Canada’s 153rd birthday (or at least, 153 years since Confederation in 1867). This year’s Canada Day celebrations will look a lot different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are still plenty of things to do at home and online. Here are ten ideas to celebrate Canada Day 2020:
1. Check out the City of Vaughan Virtual Canada Day Celebration
The City of Vaughan will host a free virtual Canada Day celebration from 5:00 – 8:00 pm on July 1 to allow Vaughan residents the opportunity to celebrate safely and comfortably from home. The featured performers will be beloved Canadian band the Barenaked Ladies! Additional entertainment will include musical performances by the pop group Mini Pop Kids and pop/R&B band The Free Label, a cirque-style LED performance with Spin Starlets and electric violinist Dr. Draw, a comedy performance by Susan Stewart, and a dance lesson from Kreative in Dance Styles (K.I.D.S.). There will be an official welcome from Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua and members of Council, as well as videos from community members sharing what Canada Day means to them. The event will be hosted by Ashley Greco from 104.5 CHUM FM and is presented by Greenpark Group. Check the City of Vaughan’s website for up-to-date information.
2. Read a book by a Canadian author
Canada is home to many talented, award-winning authors from diverse backgrounds. Find your next read with this list of recent award winners. All titles are available electronically, either through OverDrive or Hoopla Digital.
3. Watch a Canadian movie
Kanopy provides access to wide array of Canadian cinema, free with your library card! Check out Incendies, the story of a pair of twins who, at the reading of their mother’s will, discover that their father may not be dead after all, and they have a brother they didn’t know existed. The film won Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010 and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film in 2011.
You can also head over to the National Film Board of Canada website to find more Canadian content to watch for free, including fiction, documentaries, and cartoons for kids.
4. Listen to Canadian music
Artists like Justin Bieber and Drake are household names around the world. Indeed, Canada has a wealth of musical talent worthy of a listen during your Canada Day festivities. Hoopla Digital has music from many popular Canadian artists, including The Weeknd, Blue Rodeo, Barenaked Ladies, The Tragically Hip, Arkells, Metric, Alessia Cara, and many more!
If you’re feeling like a bit of 90s nostalgia, check out this list of 90s CanRock albums, all available to stream through Hoopla Digital with your library card.
5. Have a virtual party with friends and family
If you can’t be together in person, get together online! There are several apps that you can use for video chats or to play interactive games online. Houseparty is an app for video chatting that includes a few games, such as Chips and Guac, which is similar to Cards Against Humanity. Bunch has several free games, such as Draw Party, which is like Pictionary. Or play a game of trivia on QuizUp. VPL has a quick guide to using these apps, as well as a video on how to use popular video chat apps Zoom and FaceTime.
6. Get dressed in your Canada gear and get outside
As of June 19, the City of Vaughan has opened tennis courts, skateboard parks, basketball courts, bocce courts, sports fields and baseball diamonds, picnic tables and gazebos, trails, the off-leash dog park and parking lots (please check the City of Vaughan website for safety requirements). Get outside and take advantage of these amenities, go for a walk with your family, or organize a socially distant O Canada singalong with your neighbours. But what if it rains? If you still want to get active, VPL has a guide to fitness apps for working out at home. You can also find fitness videos from Recreation Vaughan on Instagram. And if you have kids, why not check out our selection of STEAM videos featuring fun and educational activities you can do at home, or our storytime playlist on YouTube.
7. Fire up the grill!
Hoopla Digital has a great selection of cookbooks with recipes for barbecuing, including vegan options. You can also find guides to making your own desserts and cocktails. Or support your favourite local restaurant by visiting a patio or ordering takeout (just be sure to check their hours ahead of time).
8. Learn a little Canadian history
Do you remember those Canadian heritage minutes that used to air on TV? It turns out you can watch them online through Historica Canada. Learn about important moments and figures in our nation’s history, such as Viola Desmond, who challenged segregation in Nova Scotia when she refused to leave a whites-only section of the Roseland Theatre, or Jim Egan, an activist whose court challenge to receive spousal benefits for his same-sex partner led to sexual orientation being read into the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a protected ground of discrimination. This decision paved the way for additional LGBTQ+ rights, such as same-sex marriage.
If you’d like something more in-depth, you can find books on Canadian history on Hoopla Digital. Or quiz your friends and family with some Canadian trivia. The Big Book of Canadian Trivia has lots of fun facts about our home and native land.
9. Make a virtual visit to a local tourist attraction
VPL’s popular Experience Vaughan passes may be on hold, but our community partners have virtual programming to keep you and your family entertained. The McMichael Canadian Art Collection offers free virtual guided tours (registration required). You can also visit their eMuseum with over 6,500 pieces of art, available anytime.
If you have an interest in history, take a trip back in time and explore the exhibits at Black Creek Pioneer Village. Learn about heritage trades such as printmaking and rug hooking or explore Flynn house, home of the Flynn family, who immigrated to Canada from Ireland.
Several museums are offering virtual tours of their collections. The Royal Ontario Museum has virtual exhibits and collections, including artwork from around the world. You can also tour the collections of the Aga Khan Museum or view videos featuring performing arts like music, dance, and comedy. For shoe lovers, the Bata Shoe Museum has three virtual exhibits: All About Shoes, which highlights the footwear traditions of Indigenous groups and Canada’s multicultural communities, On Canadian Ground: Stories of Footwear in Early Canada, presented by Virtual Museum Canada, about methods of footwear construction used by Indigenous and immigrant groups in Canada, and Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels, hosted by the Google Arts and Cultural Institute.
And just for fun, take a virtual ride on one of Canada’s Wonderland’s roller coasters or thrill rides.
10. Tell us why you love Canada
Leave a comment telling us what you love about Canada, or post a photo of your family in your Canada gear on social media and use the hashtags #VPL@Home and #TogetherVaughan.