The City of Penticton will not participate in any formal Canada Day celebrations this year out of respect for Indigenous communities across Canada.
The city announced its decision Friday, June 18.
The decision comes after the discovery of 215 deceased children at a former Kamloops residential school has sparked an increased spotlight on residential schools and on Canada’s overlooked, dark history with Indigenous people.
“Out of respect for Indigenous communities across Canada who are grieving, it is important to Penticton City Council that this year’s Canada Day activities honour the history, culture and traditions of Indigenous people,” said Penticton mayor John Vassilaki.
“Given time constraints and ongoing gathering restrictions that protect us during the pandemic, the city is not able to offer Canada Day activities that we consider appropriate.
“We encourage you to spend the day with your family and take time to reflect on Canada’s history and consider what we can each do to work towards an inclusive community.”
The City of Victoria previously also announced they won’t take part in Canada Day celebrations this year for similar reasons.
Last year, Canada Day in Penticton was restricted to online celebrations due to the pandemic.