Canada Day Collingwood: Traditional Canada Day plans cancelled in favour of We CANada Project

from: Collingwood Downtown Business Improvement Area

The Collingwood Downtown BIA has cancelled its plans for Canada Day entertainment and displays in an effort to avoid celebrating during a time of mourning. 

The BIA Board of Management held an emergency meeting on the morning of June 29 to discuss the plans for July 1 and the July 3-4 weekend. 

Earlier plans made for the end of this week included the Collingwood Circus Club members providing strolling entertainment on the downtown sidewalks, Canada flag installations in the gardens throughout downtown and our traditional selfie stations. 

July 1st is traditionally a time to reflect with pride and gratitude on this country we are fortunate to call home. Through the crisis of the pandemic, over the past 18 months, we have seen countless demonstrations of compassionate support, locally and nationally, that defines and exemplifies the best of Canadians.

The recent discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of children at former residential school sites is a stark reminder of a tragic and shameful part of Canada’s past. The Collingwood Downtown BIA, together with the Town of Collingwood is strongly committed to inclusion and diversity, and we know there can be no forward progress without recognition of the past.

We can and should collectively hold ourselves accountable for the acts of the past. We can use this awareness to forge ahead constructively in support of, and in consultation with, the communities these past actions have so grievously harmed. Together we can become a downtown business community that leads by example and embraces the new learnings that are needed to acknowledge and celebrate all of our community members equally.

Introducing the We CANada Project We are Canadian and together we CAN do better.

On July 1, 2021, we invite our community to observe, reflect upon, and share a recognition of the past. Our call is for all residents and visitors to take time to acknowledge the truths of our collective history. We call for support those for whom the suffering and the legacy of the residential schools continues. We call for Collingwood to be a part of actions that lead to reconciliation.

It is in this spirit that the Collingwood BIA, in collaboration with the Town of Collingwood, presents the We CANada Project. Downtown Businesses are encouraged to post a sign being distributed to the BIA membership and share in the space provided what they can do to bring about change.

We CANada is an invitation to contemplate our collective history and cultural diversity. Together we CAN unite on this land we love and together we CAN take action to build pathways towards solidarity, shared understanding, and reconciliation. We CANada challenges us to take meaningful steps forward, to be inclusive with our words and intentions, and to celebrate the strengths that unite us.

What can each of us do as individuals, as neighbours and as a community to bring about change? How can we build a system which acknowledges our shared history, honours the lives tragically taken and fuels our collective growth as a nation? Let’s share our intentions with each other.

This Canada Day, may we all take pause to be kind, listen to stories being shared, and be part of the pathway to change.