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Victoria's Canada Day event scrapped in wake of residential school discovery

Last Updated Jun 11, 2021 at 7:03 am PDT

VICTORIA — City councillors in Victoria have voted unanimously to cancel a planned Canada Day broadcast in order to permit a “thoughtful reflection” of what it means to be Canadian.

A statement from the City of Victoria says council voted to scrap the virtual celebration following the discovery of what are believed to be the remains of 215 former students buried in unmarked graves on the site of the now-closed Kamloops Indian Residential School.

The city says it will be guided by members of the local First Nation and will replace the broadcast with one that features Indigenous artists.

The updated broadcast will air later this summer.

Mayor Lisa Helps says Canada, as a nation, is in a “challenging moment.”

Her statement says the city’s broadcast has been cancelled as council takes time to “explore new possibilities.”

“While everyone will mark Canada Day in their own way on July 1, now is a time where the City can take leadership and provide an opportunity for thoughtful reflection and examination of what it means to be Canadian in light of recent events and what we already know from our past,” the statement says.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press