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

SD 51 aims to reach students online, working with families to get access to tech

Teachers have been contacting families directly to talk over students’ needs, outlook for e-education

FortisBC offers 90-day bill deferrals to customers impacted by COVID-19

Customers can apply for the relief program through the utility’s website

Grand Forks halves tax increase amid COVID-19

Council also voted to delay implementing increases to utilities until the fall

Christina Lake, Rock Creek cannabis growers see shared opportunity

Two companies in the Boundary have signed a letter of intent to work together in industry

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: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Blasting through the West Kootenay

80 years ago; ‘Pretty near all the people from Fruitvale were working on it’

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

Most Read