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

Sinclar Group curtailing all sawmill operations temporarily

Nechako Lumber, Apollo Forest Products and Lakeland Mills to be curtailed for three weeks starting April 5.

Letter: Update on post spring-break plans from SD91

By Manu Madhok, Superintendent of Schools Dear Parents/Guardians, As we officially end… Continue reading

Skeena Bulkley Valley MP calling for halt on sport fishing licenses to out-of-province fishers

Bachrach and Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns co-signed the letter to the Minister of Fisheries

Kitimat LNG Canada worker tests positive for COVID-19

The company announced the positive case to its workers on March 28

End of spring-break update from Fort St. James Secondary School

Fort St. James Secondary School principal has written a letter to parents… Continue reading

VIDEO: How doctors in Canada will decide who lives and dies if pandemic worsens

Officials in several provinces have been developing guides so that doctors don’t feel alone

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Most Read