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Burnaby's biggest summer party has been cancelled again

Hats Off Day cancelled for a second time
Tens of thousands of people walk Hastings for Hats Off Day. NOW files

The Burnaby Heights Merchants Association has decided to cancel Hats Off Day for 2021, in keeping with current provincial health restrictions.

Isabel Kolic, executive director of the association, said now wasn’t the time to hold the event, which was cancelled in 2020 as well.

“Based on what the health authorities and the City of Burnaby have communicated to us, and we certainly agree, now is not the time to be hosting a party for 50,000 visitors,” Kolic said. “Our Burnaby Heights merchants, who are so dedicated to our community, have been bending backwards to keep our public safe, while keeping their businesses afloat. Organizing a festival is not only impossible under the current health guidelines, but is also very difficult for businesses to focus on at this time.”

Kolic explained that, a year on in the pandemic, the association continues to make sure that small and independent merchants of Burnaby Heights have what they need to survive this period, and thrive in the long term. Plans are in the works for a virtual tribute.

The Hats Off Day festival and parade will return in 2022, so long as sufficient numbers of the public demonstrate immunity to COVID and the infection rate becomes low enough to permit large public gatherings. Kolic said the HMA would like to remind the public that while the biggest companies and online delivery services like Amazon will survive this pandemic, and even profit from it, the smaller operators are still struggling and need local loyalty and support.

“Before you shop online, consider your local merchant first. Give them a call and find out if they have the product that you need. If so, you’ll likely receive it today – which is faster than online ordering,” Kolic said. “Local merchants also get to know you and are likely already a part of your neighbourhood.”

To keep the public safe, Heights businesses now offer curbside pick-up or delivery service, and accept payment over the phone or online. Many service-oriented businesses have switched to video conferencing their services, as well. The Hats Off Day Organizing Committee looks forward to the day when our community can celebrate again in person – with hats and masks both off. For up to date information on Burnaby Heights during COVID-19, follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, or visit their web site at