Here's what's happening around southern Sask. on July 1

Calls to cancel Canada Day have been growing since hundreds of unmarked graves were discovered on the grounds of former residential schools across the country.

Canada Day celebrations in some Saskatchewan centres were already limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, and leaders say observing the day will take on a different tone this year.

Here’s what’s happening around southern Saskatchewan on Thursday:

REGINA

Canada Day festivities in Wascana Park were previously cancelled for the second year in a row because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buffalo People Arts Institute is hosting a day-long event at Buffalo Meadows Park (formerly known as Dewdney Pool and Park) to honour Indigenous ancestors, buffalo and the land.

The event began with a pipe ceremony at 6 a.m. and will feature a children’s powwow, mural painting and other activities throughout the day.

The group said there will be a maximum capacity of 150 people at a time.

In the evening, the First Nations University of Canada Regina Students’ Association is hosting a smudge walk beginning at 7 p.m. at 1 First Nations Way.

There will also be a candlelight vigil starting at 7 p.m. People are invited to meet at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum parking lot at 6:15 p.m. and the group will walk to the Legislative Building where the vigil will be held.

The vigil will transition to the Albert Street bridge at 9 p.m.

MOOSE JAW

The City of Moose Jaw is encouraging residents to take part in a rally that will be held in solidarity with Cowessess First Nation and the Indigenous community Thursday.

The Standing in Integrity Canada Day Rally, hosted by Our Home on Native Land, will begin at 12 p.m. at 220 Main St. N. The group will walk towards Athabasca Street.

The city said the Canada Day fireworks will stop at the halfway point for a moment of silence. The city said it will also keep the flag lowered and the City Hall Clock Tower will be lit up orange.

YORKTON

The Yorkton Exhibition usually ends on Canada Day, but this year’s event was cancelled due to COVID-19 and the city will not be holding an alternative event.

Instead, it is encouraging people to reflect on Canada’s history together.

“Recognize Canada Day. But on the other hand, recognize what’s going on right now in our country. That has to be address properly,” said Yorkton Mayor Mitch Hippsley.

MELVILLE

Last week, the City of Melville decided to postpone its Canada Day celebrations following the discovery of 751 unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school on Cowessess First Nation.

The city encouraged residents to light a candle in their window in support of residential school survivors and those in mourning.

In a letter, city council recommended the mayor and council speak with leadership of local First Nations “in an effort to plan a cross-cultural celebration in the summer of 2021.”