UPDATED June 29: The Canada Day parades have been cancelled out of respect for residential school victims. Rotary Centennial Gardens will display educational signs about abuses in the residential school system. The home and business decorating contests will continue, with participants encouraged to include orange in their displays in solidarity with Indigenous communities.

The Rotary Club of Bracebridge won’t be lighting any Canada Day fireworks this year, but will still celebrate with a bang.

The club will run a festive home-decorating contest, a business decorating contest, rock painting and a photo contest at the Rotary Centennial Gardens, and a “reverse-parade” through the town.

“We want to make sure that we’re celebrating together, but we’re doing it responsibly and distant,” says club president Brenda Rhodes. “Our Rotary Club will be doing two routes through the evening starting at 8:30, we will be parading through your neighborhood, so we encourage people to come out on their lawn and celebrate with us as we go by.”

The parades will consist of two floats, and will feature hand-outs for kids. The house decorating contest carries a top prize of two $100 gift cards to Bracebridge restaurants, with seven runner-ups each receiving $100. The top three businesses in the business-decorating contest will each receive a coffee and donut party for staff. 

Finally, residents can visit the Rotary Centennial Gardens for a self-guided tour. The club is asking visitors to dress in Canada Day-themed clothing and take pictures to submit to the club’s Facebook page. The top three submissions will receive a $50 restaurant gift card. Visitors can also paint rocks to be displayed in the garden.

The club normally hosts an in-person Canada Day fireworks show, which cannot run because of COVID-19. Rhodes says the club was looking for ways to continue the spirit of the holiday. 

“Our main goal is to bring the community together, and with the fireworks we do that in a big way,” says Rhodes. “This year, we’ve had to modify because of regulations, but we still have that same angle of bringing families together in a safe manner, and everybody’s celebrating the best way they can this year, until we can come together for another fireworks show.”

For more information, visit the Bracebridge Rotary Club’s Canada Day website.