‘The tone of the programming will be compassionate and uplifting,’ report to city council says

Musician standing in front of a crowd of people, while holding a Canadian flag on a hockey stick.
The stage at Surrey’s Canada Day event. (Photo: surrey.ca)

Surrey will livestream a Canada Day celebration this summer, without the large gathering of people.

In non-pandemic times, the July 1 event typically welcomes more than 70,000 people to Cloverdale’s Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre for a day of live music, rides, food and more.

Another city-planned event, the mid-July Surrey Fusion Festival, has been cancelled for this year, according to a corporate report approved by city council on Monday (May 4).

As for Canada Day, transitioning to a virtual event “ensures the Surrey community will continue to experience feelings of inclusivity, community and civic pride. Virtual events have demonstrated their ability to attract large audiences and unify communities through shared experiences,” the report notes.

“The livestream will utilize the power of music and community engagement to decrease stress and improve mental and emotional health during a very challenging time both in the local community and globally.”

The goal is to attract 40,000 Surrey-area viewers with the livestreamed Canada Day event.

The city’s Special Events section will work with virtual event producers to ensure “a stable and seamless livestream delivery to the City of Surrey’s YouTube channel and Special Event Facebook pages,” according to the report.

Live-streamed programming would be scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1.

“The tone of the programming will be compassionate and uplifting, in celebration of healthcare workers, essential workers and Canadians doing their part in the fight against COVID-19,” the report to council says. “The livestream will feature diverse programming to ensure it is inclusive of all viewers, including the following themed segments: kids, seniors/elders, Indigenous, youth, country/rodeo, dance, and music.”

As for funding, Celebrate Canada has confirmed they will be committing funding of $60,000 toward Surrey Canada Day, “in support of transitioning the event to virtual and maintaining the high standards of programming delivered in previous years,” the report says.

Surrey Honda is still prepared to give away a free car during the Surrey Canada Day livestream, and a portion of Surrey Canada Day’s sponsorship funding could be donated to the Surrey Food Bank, with a goal of donating $5,000. “Any savings realized by delivering this livestreamed event will be utilized to cover any COVID-19 related budget shortfalls in the City,” the report adds.

The article was written by Tom Zillich for the Surrey Now-Leader