Rather than commemorate Canada’s birthday with a big bash this year, Black Diamond is celebrating on a smaller scale in light of COVID-19.
The Town is replacing its annual Diamond Music Festival & Canada Day Celebration with a more subtle celebration that includes awarding a gift basket to someone who spends money in local shops on July 1, encouraging residents to decorate their homes and vehicles and lining Centre Avenue with Canada flags.
“Because of the Province’s gathering restrictions we aren’t able to host what we normally would be able to host so, instead, we’re encouraging people to come and shop and eat in our local restaurants and check out our walking trails and stop as they’re passing through Sheep River Provincial Park,” said Shelley Broadley, Black Diamond’s economic development and planning assistant. “With the flags and shop local campaign, we just want people to recognize that we still want to celebrate the holiday, it just looks a lot different this year.”
July 1st shoppers and diners are invited to hand in their receipts, with their name and number written on the back, at the municipal building’s front desk or drop-off box for a chance to win a prize basket courtesy of the Town and merchants, said Broadley.
The deadline for submission is July 10 at 4 p.m. The draw is July 13.
“We’re encouraging people to check out all of our businesses and spend a little money,” she said. “The more receipts you get the more of a chance you have to win.”
Canada Day festivities have been cancelled across the country due to health guidelines restricting the number of people gathering in groups.
This includes fireworks displays, said Broadley, as they often attract large numbers of people.
The Province is currently allowing groups of up to 100, so long as people distance themselves six feet or more from others to prevent spreading the virus.
“Typically, people gather near Tim Hortons and get out of their vehicles to watch the fireworks and there is definitely more than 100 people that come out,” she said. “We can’t monitor everybody getting out of their vehicles.”
Kelly Tuck, special events co-ordinator, said after being forced to cancel Black Diamond's music festival and ceremony, it was important to staff to still mark the occasion.
“We are still going to celebrate Canada Day even though we can’t put on an event,” she said.
Tuck said she hopes people will make Black Diamond their destination for the day, adding that the town has been getting a lot of attention lately.
“The last couple of weekends it’s been very busy here – I don’t think I’ve ever seen it that busy,” she said. “We’re getting a nice turnout of people exploring the area and they’re all being respectful of the limitations we have in our communities.”
When visitors enter the town from the east or the west, they will be welcomed by a row of Canada flags along the north ditch of Centre Avenue.
Tuck said the flags were purchased from monetary donations gifted by residents and installed by RONA Black Diamond employees.
Money allocated to the Town’s Canada Day festival this year will be moved to next year, she said.
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