Peter Van Mil of Abbotsford posted a Facebook invite to his 35th birthday party and then hosted a virtual celebration with a Facebook Live video on Sunday night (March 22).

B.C. man holds virtual birthday party with 70 guests

Peter Van Mil of Abbotsford turns 35 and celebrates with Facebook Live video

An Abbotsford man celebrated his 35th birthday on Sunday (March 22) with 70 guests – but none of them were in the room with him.

Instead, Peter Van Mil hosted a 15-minute Facebook Live party to mark the occasion, while many of his family and friends watched online and posted messages.

Van Mil, a construction worker, has been dutifully self-isolating at home in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. But he wanted to be able to connect with his loved ones on his big day, especially because he is currently all alone.

His wife, from whom he is separated, and their three kids – two girls and a boy, ages 5, 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 – are currently in Montreal, but are due back in Abbotsford this week.

(He will continue to keep his distance from them until they pass the two-week self-isolation period recommended for anyone who has travelled.)

Van Mil began posting messages on Facebook over the weekend, asking people to join him on Facebook on Sunday night.

Then, because he had never before done a Facebook Live video, he read an online tutorial to prepare himself.

At 7:45 p.m. Sunday, Van Mil went live from his living room. He had gone to he dollar store earlier in the day, and had a Happy Birthday banner and balloons displayed.

The video shows Van Mil with a teddy bear on the couch beside him, which he says is a nod to British sitcom star Mr. Bean, who brings such a toy to a New Year’s Eve party.

Van Mil puts on a party hat, pours himself one of his favourite beers – Straffe Hendrick – and lights a candle on a slice of his birthday carrot cake.

He then sings Happy Birthday and opens two gifts – a roll of toilet paper and a bottle of hand sanitizer – that are in keeping with the pandemic and supply shortages due to hoarding.

Afterwards, Van Mil and his friend Chris moved to Instagram, where they did a dual 90-minute live video.

Van Mil said the virtual birthday party was a “very positive experience” for him. He said he would normally celebrate his birthday in person with about 20 family members, but connecting with 70 people online helped fill that gap.

“I didn’t know what to expect. I started getting nervous going into it … but, as (the video) came on, I started finding my groove and it kind of flowed … It was fun. I really enjoyed it,” he said.

ALSO READ: Leafs fan, 11, gets massive Twitter response to disappointing birthday

ALSO READ: B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice



vhopes@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Boundary hospital ‘ready for a surge,’ hoping it never comes

The emergency department director confirmed there were active COVID-19 cases in the Boundary

Grand Forks and Boundary cancellations, changes due to COVID-19

This newspaper’s list of community events, institutions that change or cancel due to pandemic

COVID-19: Interior Health orders closure of all fitness centres until May 30

The order is subject to revision, cancellation, or extension

Don’t avoid doctor’s office if you need help, say Kootenay Boundary physicians

There are alternatives to coming in physically to offices, docs say

Boundary friends make the best of a birthday in isolation

11-year-old Becca Macfarlane had hoped to go bowling with her friends

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Celebrate Easter in a ‘safe way,’ Dr. Henry urges as B.C records 6 new COVID-19 deaths

Top doctor urges British Columbians to halt non-essential travel within the province

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

B.C. unveils $3.5M COVID-19 emergency fund for post-secondary students

Money will help students cover living expenses, food, travel, portable computers

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Most Read