Canada's 150th birthday: Celebrating the Sesquicentennial
Today – February 15 – is the 52nd National Flag Day of Canada. On this day in 1965, the iconic red and white flag was raised for the first time in Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of our incredible country. Since then, the Maple Leaf has come to be recognized throughout the world as more than just a flag but as Canada's national symbol. And this year, as Canadians celebrate Canada's 150th birthday , that iconic flag will be flying higher and prouder than ever over every part of this diverse, extraordinary, and spectacular country!
Whether you are considering visiting Canada or whether you are lucky enough to live here, there are events going on all over the country in honour of Canada's sesquicentennial!
Parks Canada 2017 - Canada's Year-Long Gift to You
Parks Canada is offering free admission to all the many National Parks, Historic Sites, and Marine Conservation Areas in 2017. Do you have a favourite park and activity? Maybe surfing Pacific Rim National Park? Backpacking Yoho? Fly-fishing Riding Mountain? Hiking Kejimkuik? Or maybe you enjoy exploring Canada's history at any of the hundreds of National Historic Areas? Order your Parks Canada 2017 Discovery Pass and enjoy our national parks like never before!
Ottawa 2017 - A Capital Event - Ottawa, Ontario
Fine dining 50 metres above the city, urban camping, picnicking on a bridge, giant mechanical monsters, and, of course, hockey, all cumulate in Ottawa to create a year-long birthday celebration like no other!
- March 3-4, Red Bull brings the excitement of the final leg of the Ice Cross Downhill Championship to the Rideau Canal. This free, family friendly event overlooking Parliament Hill is expected to draw thousands of spectators.
- Enjoy a four day tribute to hockey and the Stanley Cup on March 15-18. Events include: a tribute concert, a hockey legends meet and greet, and a ground-breaking ceremony for the future site of the Stanley Cup Monument honouring the 125th anniversary of of infamous cup on its birthplace.
- Canada wouldn't be Canada without its immensely diverse mix of cultures and people. From March 21 to December 1, Ottawa is welcoming the world to the Aberdeen Pavilion and Horticulture Building. Immerse yourself in the music, art, and food from over 30 countries and partners. Host countries change daily to weekly – check here for details.
- Canada's 150th Party is expected to be a Canada Day like none other! There's even a rumour the Queen may celebrate with us! Enjoy a giant street party, free concerts, and a flyover from the Snowbirds. Or visit the Shaw Centre for an indoor event that will feature Canadian cuisine cooked by top Canadian chefs, live music and displays, and front seat view of the fireworks.
- Unfortunately already sold out, the Interprovincial Picnic on the Alexandra Bridge on July 2 will be a Canadian first. Linking Ontario and Quebec, the bridge crosses the Ottawa River and for those attending, promises to be a memorable and unique way to spend the day recovering after the celebration.
- Chef Stephen La Salle from feast + revel will be serving a Canadian inspired cuisine 50 feet in the air each day from July 7–22. Unrivalled views and a 'culinary adventure' promise to make this an unforgettable experience!
- Giant machines invade downtown Ottawa July 27-30! La Machine, known throughout Europe for its captivating performances, is making its Northern American debut in Ottawa for Canada's 150 celebration.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Promising to be the second largest Canada Day event, Vancouver is world-renowned as a top 'must-see' destination. Snow-capped mountains on one side and glorious ocean on the other, Vancouver is a year round jaw-dropper. Then combine it with Vancouver's incredible diversity, culture, uniquely delicious west coast cuisine, activities for any - and every - one both in the city and in the surrounding wilderness, and the relaxed attitude Vancouver-ites are famous for, you have a city destined to put on a great party for Canada's big 150! Enjoy an 11-day First Nations' festival, an all-day downtown music festival, street performances, and welcome new Canadians in a group citizenship ceremony. End the night with a huge fireworks display (best seen at sea level from a kayak in English Bay) and then join the party as locals celebrate. Watch for more information as details come available!
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is famous for its unique Canadian maritime history. As one of the first colonized areas in what would become Canada, the city of Halifax celebrates Canada's birthday in historic style! From a Military Tattoo to an outdoor music festival and fireworks display at Alderney Landing, Halifax is a fun and exciting city with lots to do for everyone in your family. And for a unique Canada Day 2017 experience, what about spending the day celebrating the sesquicentennial by boat? Anchor off Alderney Landing and spend the day on the water enjoying the music and festivities from the comfort of your own boat (not to mention the best seat in the house for the fireworks!).
Canada Day with a French twist! Un fête du Canada is a feast of diversity and multicultural sights, sounds, and tastes! Each year, the Canada Day Parade winds along Ste. Catherine Street, ending with cake for everyone (and we mean everyone! The giant cakes are awesome to see!) and live entertainment. Enjoy an open air market, roaming performers, and live jazz for free in the Montreal Gay Village. Spend the day on one of the four beaches in the Montreal area. Love jazz? Then this is the city for you to visit for C-150! The Montreal Jazz Festival is world-famous with it's combination of indoor concerts and free outdoor programming. Expect the party to start at 11 am and run well past midnight at the Place des Arts Metro! Stroll the boardwalk while enjoying free entertainment at Village Au Pied-du-Courant and watch the Old Port's Canada Day fireworks at 10 pm.
Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba, is a uniquely modern and diverse gem in the center of Canada. Every year, Winnipeg-gers do Canada Day 2017 up right with 2017 expected to be the crown jewel. Events include:
- Osborne Village Canada Day Street Celebration is considered the best street festival of the year! Extras this year includes Canada Day Classic Hockey Tournament, a huge Family Zone, five live music and entertainment venues, and 14 additional extended patios.
- Don't forget to visit the Bell Tower Stage for a group singing of Happy Birthday and a piece of cake!
- Canada Day at the Forks promises to be a family-friendly, all day party with two stages and a host of events for kids and adults. From a children's museum to an IMPACT Obstacle Course, there is tons to keep the little ones busy until the firework display! Watch for more information to come as details become available.
Turn your Canada Day long weekend into two weeks of fun and excitement in Calgary! The celebration starts June 30 and includes events such as night markets, Indigenous celebrations and performances, Franco-Albertan celebrations, military displays, a traditional Powwow, and ending in a huge fireworks display late on July 1! Take a break from the city for a few days to explore the rest of Alberta before coming back for the world-famous Calgary Stampede taking place July 7-16! Cowboy up and experience a unique Canadian tradition. Not sure if you want to spend Canada Day in the city? Take a trip to Banff to watch their famous parade and enjoy a full-day of celebrations topped off with a spectacular fireworks display.
London, Ontario may not be the first city you think of when you think of Canada Day 150th birthday celebrations however, it may be the city to visit in 2017! Londoners have brought together a series of activities, commemorations, legacy projects and campaigns “designed to showcase the wonder, legacy and aspiration of Canada”. London's events include:
- February 15 – pick up a free Canadian flag at Covent Garden Market at lunchtime to in honour of National Flag Day
- Enjoy a special edition antiques roadshow with items from 1867, 1967, and 1917 having unique appeal on February 25.
- For the month of March, participating restaurants are hosting the Canada 150 “Secret Menu”. Restaurants include The Black Walnut Bakery Cafe, Olive R. Twists: Food & Beverage House, Plant Matter Kitchen, Smoke's Poutinerie, The Boombox Bakeshop, Shelley's Tap and Grill, and Fancy Tarts.
- 100th Anniversary Dinner for the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 1, presented by Vimy Branch 145, Royal Canadian Legion.
- London's annual Passport to Canada Day hosts a series of events for a city-wide celebration with attendee numbers reaching over 100,000 people. For 2017, there will be 7 main Passport events ending in an enormous fireworks display.
- In honour of the 1967 formal Centennial Ball, London is hosting the Sesquicentennial Ball on November 9, 2017.
- Held at Victoria Park and the London Convention Centre, Goodbye 150! will be a New Year's Eve to remember!
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
This historic town is known as the “birthplace of Confederation” when talk of creating a union and establishing our country began at the multi-day party known as the Charlottetown Conference in 1864. Shift forwards 150 years and Charlottetown embraces all things Canadian! From the STIHL Timbersports Canadian Champions Trophy (yes, that is another way to say “lumberjack competition”!) from June 30-July 1, to the 2017 Tall Ships Festival June 30-July 2, to the July 1 Canada's 150th celebrations, Charlottetown will be an exciting and busy city over the Canada Day long weekend! Expect music festivals, open markets throughout the city, and, of course, Victoria Row will be on full display with outdoor performances scattered around the boutiques and antique shops. Watch for more details as information comes available.
Victoria, British Columbia
Every Canada Day, the Victoria Inner Harbour welcomes tens of thousands of people and Canada's 150th promises to be the biggest celebration yet! Starting June 21 and running until July 1, the Victoria waterfront will celebrate both Canada's and the city's multiculturalism and diverse history. Before heading downtown though, start the day off right with a Pancake Breakfast, canoe ride, strawberry tea, and a game of street hockey at the Gorge Waterway. Then head downtown with the rest of the city to the always incredible line-up of BC musicians and performers that accompany Victoria's Canada Day celebration. Check back for more information as details become available.
2017 is Canada's year to shine! Make sure you take advantage of Canada's 150th birthday with incredible activities and celebrations and experience why Canadians love their “home and native land”.