Enjoying a safe, pandemic-friendly Canada Day in CK

A Canadian flag is seen among red and white flowers (Photo courtesy of Arlette Payne/Facebook)

Canada Day will look a little less flashy than it has in recent memory with the pandemic putting a damper on most outdoor fireworks displays.

With the province limiting social gatherings to 10 or fewer people in Ontario, most residents will have to purchase their own fireworks and set them off on private property if they want to take in a show this year.

If you’re thinking about setting off your own private display, Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services have some tips for you:

– Fireworks can be set off three days before, on and three days after July 1.

– Fireworks can be set off until 11 p.m.

– Consumer fireworks must be set off in a safe wide open area on private property.

– Keep your fireworks out of reach for children and away from any other combustibles.

– Have a bucket of water or a water hose nearby and extinguish fireworks with water or sand before disposing of them.

Chatham-Kent-Leamington MP Dave Epp is also planning some special celebrations for Canada’s 153rd anniversary.

“If Canadians can’t come to Canada Day then Canada Day will have to come to the people,” said Epp, in a release. “If the pandemic prevents us from coming together in traditional Canada Day celebrations to express our love for Canada, then let’s decorate our homes and share our love of one of the greatest countries in the world.”

Epp said he plans to spend about eight hours travelling throughout his riding, sharing some Canadian pride by waving the flag and offering greetings while also taking pictures for a photo album of how residents are marking the occasion during the pandemic.

“The continued uncertainty created by COVID-19 makes celebrating Canada Day as a community a real challenge,” said Epp. “But we hope this idea helps share some community sense of self-expression and connectivity.”

Epp is also urging local residents to share their messages with statements such as, “To me, being Canadian means…” or “Chatham-Kent-Leamington is…” in addition to celebrating local agriculture by setting up signs of “We help feed Canada and the world.”

To support and spread that message, Epp will also be kicking off Canada Day in Leamington where a Plentiful Harvest truck will be loaded with fresh local produce for Indigenous communities in Northern Ontario and some attention will be given to dehydrated vegetables, which the area ships overseas to the needy.