No celebrations, Canada Day events cancelled

Morrisburg Canada Day celebrations are cancelled for 2020.

Keith and Linda Robinson of the Morrisburg Canada Day Committee announced the decision to The Leader Monday morning (April 13th).

“We have to cancel it because of everything that’s going on with this pandemic,” said Linda during a telephone interview.

With rules in place about public gatherings, park closures and physical distancing, there are many barriers and too many unknowns to let the committee move forward with any further planning for the July 1st event.

The biggest problem right now is that they cannot do any fundraising.

“We can’t raise money by selling tickets in stores and we can’t collect donations from the area businesses like we usually do,” said Linda. 

“Without that $5,000 to $6,000 we raise, we can’t make ends meet,” added Keith. 

“This was a very difficult decision, nobody wants to see it cancelled, but we just can’t go on with the planning not knowing what’s going to happen.”

The Morrisburg Canada Day Committee consists of about a dozen volunteer members planning the event throughout the year. The committee already has some deposits with entertainment providers, most of whom (for example, the fireworks provider,) are agreeing to hold that deposit for the return of Canada Day festivities in 2021.

Keith and Linda want to thank all of the committee members for all the work they have done and all they do to make this event happen annually. 

“This is really disappointing, but it’s what we have to do for public safety,” said Linda.

Last week, South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds was part of a weekly municipalities conference call with Dr. Paul Roumeliotis when a mayor from the Prescott-Russell area asked if plans for Canada Day should be cancelled. 

“Roumeliotis replied ‘yes’ with no hesitation,” said Byvelds. 

“As much as this seems far in the future, I assume most organizations need to get plans in place,” he added. 

“I know as much as most governments are going weeks or months at a time to get things going again, I hear that physical distancing will need to continue for some time.”

“Life will be different this spring and summer but we need to continue to do what we need to do to keep as many people as we can as safe as possible,” said Byvelds.

In Iroquois, firefighters from the Iroquois fire station traditionally organize a Canada Day fireworks display for that town.

Deputy fire chief for the Iroquois station Ray Hunter told The Leader that Iroquois’ firefighters have not made a decision about whether or not they will still organize a fireworks display.

 “We’re waiting for direction from the Municipality of South Dundas and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, ” said deputy chief Hunter. 

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