A Canada Day cake is cut and handed out to people at Shipyards Park in Whitehorse on July 1, 2018. Many 2020 Canada Day celebrations in Whitehorse have been cancelled due to COVID-19. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Community Canada Day events off this year

Legion explores new ways to celebrate national holiday

Whitehorse will not be celebrating Canada Day in the same way that has become tradition for many.

The Whitehorse Legion has cancelled the annual July 1 celebrations hosted in Shipyards Park each year with the Rotary Club of Whitehorse also cancelling its Great Yukon River Rubber Duck Race that serves as a major fundraiser for the organization.

The cancellations were announced April 27 and 28 due to COVID-19.

“Based on the current medical information on the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the realization that it is not likely to resolve itself in the near future, the Whitehorse Legion has had to make the sad and realistic decision to cancel this years Canada Day celebrations in Whitehorse scheduled for July 1, 2020,” Legion president Joseph Mewett said in an April 27 statement. “There is no way of forecasting when the restrictions on travel or large in-person gatherings will be lifted, making it virtually impossible for us to plan this event.”

While the legion oversees the day’s festivities, there are a number of organizations involved in various aspects of the day.

A pancake breakfast typically kicks off the day. There’s a parade followed by the flag raising and singing of the national anthem. Performances are showcased on a main stage throughout the day along with other festivities.

Mewett highlighted health and safety as the legion’s “upmost priority”.

Amid all the Canada Day fun at Shipyards Park, the Rotary Club drops 6,500 numbered yellow rubber ducks into the Yukon River for a “race” to the finish line. The numbers correspond with tickets that were sold and those who have the tickets for the first five ducks across the finish line wins $1,000 along with receiving a plaque featuring their winning duck.

At $5 per ticket, the event serves as a major fundraiser for the organization, helping to support events like the annual Rotary Music and Dance festival.

Rotary Club president Ian McKenzie said in an April 30 interview the money that had been set to be spent this year on the 2020 festival — which was also cancelled last month — will be moved forward to 2021.

“Last month, we made the heart-breaking decision to cancel the Rotary Music and Dance Festival for the first time in over 50 years,” he said. “Now, as we see the pandemic continuing, people’s well-being and safety remains the priority. Selling the tickets and preparing the ducks and collecting them at the end of the race would be impossible under present public health and safety conditions.”

Since making the announcement, McKenzie said the organization has heard from a few supporters who are disappointed, but not surprised by the decision.

“It’s unfortunate,” McKenzie said.

Along with the annual spring music and dance festival, the Rotary Club also helps fund a number of other projects and organizations, such as the Whitehorse Food Bank which received $10,000 from the Rotary Club in March.

McKenzie said the club is hopeful residents will continue to support the fundraiser next year.

In the meantime, he said, the club is continuing plans for its annual Rotary Roses fundraiser in October.

During that fundraiser residents can order roses from the club that are then delivered just before Thanksgiving. McKenzie noted that fundraiser doesn’t involve as much interaction between people as the duck race does and it’s anticipated it will go ahead.

While Canada Day in Whitehorse will be very different this year, Mewett said the legion is working to find a way for those in Whitehorse to show their civic pride and celebrate the nation’s birthday in a safe way.

“The federal government is working on a plan to have a National Canada Day Celebration online or through some virtual form, which we will endeavour to partake in to show our Yukon pride,” he said, adding that plan will likely be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Canada DayCoronavirusRotaryRoyal Canadian Legion

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted


Wyatt’s World for May 5, 2021.… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. They formally announced that as of Nov. 20, anyone entering the territory (including Yukoners returning home) would be required to self-isolate with the exception of critical service workers, those exercising treaty rights and those living in B.C. border towns
Vaccinated people won’t have to self-isolate in the Yukon after May 25

Restaurants and bars will also be able to return to full capacity at the end of the month.

An RV pulls into Wolf Creek Campground to enjoy the first weekend of camping season on April 30, 2021. John Tonin/Yukon News
Opening weekend of Yukon campgrounds a ‘definite success’

The territorial campgrounds opened on April 30. Wolf Creek was the busiest park seeing 95 per cent of sites filled.

Visitors from Ushiku, Japan visit the Carcross Desert as part of the exchange program Ushiku and Whitehorse have. The previously annual exchange has been cancelled for 2021 due to COVID-19. (Submitted)
Whitehorse-Ushiku sister city exchange cancelled

Officials said the exchange is cancelled due to COVID-19

The site of the Old Crow solar project photographed on Feb. 20. The Vuntut Gwitchin solar project was planned for completion last summer, but delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it back. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Old Crow is switching to solar

The first phase of the community’s solar array is already generating power.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
One new case of COVID-19 in the Yukon

Case number 82 is the territory’s only active case

Flood and fire risk and potential were discussed April 29. Yukoners were told to be prepared in the event of either a flood or a fire. Submitted Photo/B.C. Wildfire Service
Yukoners told to be prepared for floods and wildland fire season

Floods and fire personelle spoke to the current risks of both weather events in the coming months.

From left to right, Pascale Marceau and Eva Capozzola departed for Kluane National Park on April 12. The duo is the first all-woman expedition to summit Mt. Lucania. (Michael Schmidt/Icefield Discovery)
First all-woman team summits Mt. Lucania

“You have gifted us with a magical journey that we will forever treasure.”

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

Whitehorse goings-on for the week of April 26

The Yukon Department of Education in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. The department has announced new dates for the 2021/2022 school year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Yukon school dates set for 2021/22

The schedule shows classes starting on Aug. 23, 2021 for all Whitehorse schools and in some communities.

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: rent caps and vaccines

To Sandy Silver and Kate White Once again Kate White and her… Continue reading

Most Read