Summer gatherings are going to look and feel a lot different this year, but you can still mark all those annual holidays – albeit in a socially-distanced way. So go ahead and celebrate Canada Day with a small backyard gathering consisting of the people in your household and your extended “social bubble.” Depending on which province you’re living in, you can gather in groups of five or 10.
Published June 29, 2012, Updated June 23, 2020
Limit Your Guest List
This year, your Canada Day gathering will feel a little more… exclusive. Just embrace that angle and dive headfirst into the VIP theme by inviting only those in your immediate household and others who have already confirmed they’re part of your extended “social bubble.” Rules and regulations around group sizes vary from province to province, so check out the Government of Canada website for the latest updates.
Provide Hand Sanitizer
For everyone’s peace of mind, consider scattering hand sanitizer pumps throughout your backyard for easy use. If the nearest stores are out of stock, consider making your own DIY hand sanitizer. If you’re feeling extra-crafty you can make your own cloth face masks – of the sew or no-sew variety – that guests can take home afterward.
Red and White Decor
A red and white colour scheme is a no-brainer for a Canada Day celebration, but consider giving it a modern DIY-inspired spin with crafty white tissue paper pom poms and red goblets. Having your colour scheme flow right down to the cutlery helps complete the look. These HGTV Canada stars reveal what they love most about being Canadian.
It being July 1st and all, the temperatures can be somewhat unreliable, but a good host will prepare for everything – with bottles of SPF and bug spray on hand – and warm wraps for every guest when the sun sets. Not sure where to start when it comes to decorating? These are all your biggest outdoor decor questions answered. You can also plan a virtual event to include other loved ones in the festivities.
Big white blooms add texture and cheer to a table, especially one draped in a bold red table runner or surrounded by red cutlery. Consider supporting local and shop at these online plant stores in Canada.
This year, it’s best to skip “shareable snacks” – avoid: gooey dips, nachos or BBQ eats that potentially require people to physically touch multiple pieces of food or condiments with their hands. Instead, keep all food to tong-friendly, bite-sized portions so guests can easily move about and keep their distance. These unique and easy-to-grab Canada Day Pretzel Sparklers are the perfect type of appetizer to help avoid the spread of germs.
When it comes to Canada Day desserts, we often resort to the classic strawberry shortcake. This year, try making these Canadian No-Bake Cheesecake Bars for a low-maintenance, oven-free dessert. Bonus: they’re easy to pick up with a pair of tongs – no touching required. For more inspiration, check out these red and white desserts to celebrate Canada Day.
Have drinks and glassware set up (and spread out throughout your backyard) so guests can easily help themselves without having to stand in line. Make your own refreshing rainbow sodas out of watermelon cubes and fresh berries to keep your guests cool and hydrated. Make sure you’ve clearly marked everyone’s cups with a name sticker or multi-coloured straws to avoid any mix-ups. Just keep an eye on beverages and have plenty of ice on hand. If all goes well and weather is bright and sunny, you’ll be restocking ice non-stop!
Think Outside the Box
Backyard decor shouldn’t break the bank – nor does it have to follow a rigid red-and-white patriotic theme. Consider whimsical alternatives such as string lights, lanterns and leftover gift wrap that can act as table runners. Find more tasteful ways to decorate with string lights.
Help Guests Social Distance
In advance of the party, get crafty by creating adorable red maple leaf floor tabs you can stick to your back patio or grass to help encourage social distancing measures. Find more low-cost ways to make your backyard feel like a permanent staycation.
Provide Extra Seating
Have extra seating on hand in case guests want to spread out even further throughout your backyard. Not only will it make everyone feel more comfortable, but they’ll have a little more freedom to move around to the food and drink tables. If you want to take it one step further, you can plan for assigned seating with fun name tags on each chair. In case you were curious, this is what Canadians have been buying since COVID started.
Most provinces advise against letting people walk through each others’ houses as we continue to practice social distancing – but it’s inevitable that guests will need to use the bathroom at some point. To help, review this risk mitigation tool offered by the Government of Canada. It’ll help you alleviate potential risks, based on provincial guidelines.