Funk-rock band Raincity in a photo posted to facebook.com/thatbandraincity.

‘Virtual Surrey Canada Day’ an evening celebration with daytime ‘Family Hour’

Hayley Wickenheiser to host July 1 on city’s Facebook, YouTube pages

Surrey’s Canada Day is set to go online next Wednesday, July 1, in two parts.

A “Family Hour” aimed at kids and seniors kicks things off from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., followed by a three-hour evening program from 6 to 9 p.m.

Presented by Coast Capital Savings, the event will be broadcast live on the city’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

Hosted by Canadian hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser, the event is billed as “a free online celebration of national and civic pride (to) celebrate Canada and honour the courageous local frontline health care workers and essential service providers.”

Musical headliners include 54-40, Alex Cuba, Bif Naked, Colin James, Jill Barber, members of Surrey City Orchestra and others. A list of performers is posted to surrey.ca/canadaday, along with other details.

Over the past week, some artists have backed out of performing during Surrey’s Canada Day event, in solidarity with those calling for the city to take a stronger stance in denouncing racism against Black and Indigenous people.

• READ MORE: Artists pull out of Surrey’s virtual Canada Day event as anti-racism petition grows.

The online event will also feature virtual tours, a rodeo tribute, guest appearances, a virtual fireworks finale and more.

The goal is to attract 40,000 Surrey-area viewers with the livestreamed Canada Day event, according to a council report in May.

“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 report said.

In an online vote, the funk-rock band Raincity won the city’s Play at Home contest for a performance slot. The band features vocalist Clare Twiddy, saxophonist Kaylar Chan, guitar player Ryley Kirkpatrick, drummer Sheldon D’Eith and bass player Ginger Chen.

Meantime, the Downtown Surrey BIA has donated Canada Day-themed craft kits for up to 600 families, to encourage kids to participate in the kid’s craft segment of this year’s virtual Canada Day celebration.

“I would like to thank the Downtown Surrey BIA for its donation and helping us make programming interactive for kids and families this year,” said Mary Rukavina, Special Events and Film Manager with the City of Surrey. “Family Hour, which includes entertainment for kids and seniors, is a great way for kids, parents and seniors to connect and share memories together.”

Each kit will include four activities chosen from a variety of crafts including a Canada Day necklace, noisemaker, rainbow, butterfly, windsock, headband and maple leaf hand cut out. Families can pick up their complimentary craft supplies on June 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the BIA office in Cloverdale, and on June 24 to June 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Central City Community Desk.

New to the virtual event, viewers can expect to see special guest greetings from Canadian Olympic athletes, members of Surrey sports teams from the BC Lions and Surrey Eagles, alongside local television and radio celebrities.

Also, residents of Surrey and across the Lower Mainland are invited to participate in the virtual celebrations by sending in photos or short videos on three Canada Day themes, including Share Your Love for Canada, Sing ‘O Canada, or give a short “Happy Canada Day” greeting. Each submission will be entered to win a $200 gift card for participating Surrey Store to Door businesses and have a chance to be featured in the broadcast. Those submitting content can do so by posting on Facebook or Instagram using the campaign hashtags #SurreyCanadaDay or by emailing specialevents@surrey.ca.

Elsewhere, country band Washboard Union will headline White Rock’s Virtual Canada Day by the Bay celebrations.

The band will join the roster of entertainers who will live-stream the two-hour celebration from the stage of Blue Frog Studios, starting at 7 p.m. on July 1. The city also announced that Vancouver radio station 93.7 JR Country has come aboard as the media partner for the event.

Washboard Union is a trio featuring musicians Aaron Grain, Chris Duncombe and David Roberts.

Also featured in White Rock’s event will be Vancouver-based jazz-funk-art pop group Ludic, plus the comedy of John Cullen (of CBC Radio’s The Debaters).’

with a file from Alex Browne

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