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

Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

Other Island hospitals will be admitting COVID-19 patients and will be used in a support role

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

West Coast restaurateurs feeding the front-line

“My community was my main focus out of the gate.”

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

75-year-old woman rescued from Cowichan Lake

Victim taken to hospital, but expected to recover

Not to become bored the game plan for COVID-19

Board game with an Island map developed by Island family just the remedy for filling time at home

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

Most Read