“We need to think more about the community and silence the nationalism side,” said the president of the BIA.
The downtown Collingwood BIA has canceled plans for Canada Day entertainment and exhibitions in an attempt to “silence nationalism” and avoid celebrating during a time of mourning.
Since the confirmation of anonymous mass graves containing the bodies of more than 1,000 children at several former residential school sites in recent weeks, governments and organizations have rethought plans for Canada Day.
The BIA board held an emergency meeting this morning to discuss plans for July 1 and the weekend of July 3-4.
Earlier plans set for the end of this week included members of the Collingwood Circus Club offering walking entertainment on downtown sidewalks, Canada flag installations, and selfie stations featuring a beaver, moose and police. climb.
All of those plans have now been canceled, with the BIA working with the circus club to plan entertainment on a different weekend during the summer.
âIf we were to activate circus performers on the weekends, that would be considered a celebration, and I think that’s something we should avoid,â said BIA president David Conning. âWe need to think more about the community and silence the nationalism side. ”
Trustees voted to align the BIA with the city’s statement on July 1 activities.
Based on a suggestion from the Director of Parks, Culture and Recreation, Dean Collver, the BIA will distribute posters to its members containing information about the city’s We CANada project.
The project encourages individuals, businesses and governments to âcontemplate our collective history and our cultural diversityâ with the aim of building paths towards solidarity and reconciliation.
Business posters will âfill in the blankâ allowing business owners to complete the phrase âWe CAN ____â.
The board considered how best to make sure people understand why the BIA is not hosting its regular Canada Day programming this year.
âAs a downtown community, we have the opportunity to keep silent on the topic of nationalism this year, but I think at the same time we have to explain it and show peopleâ¦ there is a reason we’re not doing it this year, âConning said.
Deputy Mayor Keith Hull, board representative on the BIA board, said he hopes the absence of typical Canada Day events will prompt people to ask questions.
âWhen they see that nothing is happening, they ask questions and the information filters out that way,â he said. âI’m confident people will get the message out quickly. ”
BIA board member Brandon Houston said curiosity over the lack of events would be a good opportunity for education.
âI think it’s a good thing if people start to question it,â he said.
Over the next two days, the BIA will inform its members of its decision and send out We CAN posters.
The board of directors voted unanimously to cancel the previous Canada Day weekend entertainment and exhibits in support of the We project Canada.