Nova Scotians make a way to celebrate Canada Day amid COVID-19

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada Day 153 was unlike any other for citizens nationwide. However, despite trying times filled with cautionary restrictions, Nova Scotians got creative and made a way to enjoy Canada's birthday.

Gary and Beverly Maroun of Coxheath, N.S., have spent Canada Day lounging on their porch for the past 28 years. On Wednesday, their property was decked out as per usual; however, Canada Day 2020 was certainly different for them.

"Well, it's a little lonely; there's no parades or anything," said Beverly. "We used to do the water balloon fights with the fire people. It seems everyone is a little bit more subdued today."

While most people had to show their patriotism from a safe physical distance, COVID-19 restrictions couldn't stop the annual boat parade, scheduled for Canada Day evening on the beautiful Mira River.

"We're having a boat parade today at the Mira Boat Club – it's from six to eight," said Mira Boat Club bartender, Mikaela MacPherson. "We invite everyone. It's great because people can keep a distance on their own boats and stay with their families, and still have a great day."

For Dillan MacNeil, owner of Dillan's at Wentworth, Canada Day represents a rebirth for his restaurant and café. MacNeil's business closed in March when N.S. announced its first COVID-19 case.

"It's like a whole new beginning," said MacNeil. "This day is huge for us this year because it's our first day back open. We have a brand new menu – we're very excited. We were packed this morning with lots of our regulars coming back, and it's been a good time so far."

Patios proved a popular spot for residents wanting to spend the day downtown. Meanwhile, the Sydney boardwalk had plenty of people wearing red and white. However, most organized public events that are traditions in the area were cancelled.

Ultimately, despite the circumstances, it seemed patriotism trumped the pandemic in most peoples' spirits on a most unusual Canada Day – proving true patriot love can still be shared.

"Nah, we still enjoy it," said Gary. "We do our decorations and enjoy the people blowing the horn, and they enjoy it."