Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Celebrations mark Canada Day from coast to coast to coast | CBC News

Must read

In his annual Canada Day address, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the country for what he described as its commitment to pluralism, inclusion and fairness, while noting ongoing efforts to right past injustices and pursue reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

“Those are the values that hold us together as Canadians. It’s the reason so many people around the world save up everything they have and leave behind everything they know to be part of our story. It’s a story that includes injustices, ones that we are confronting on our shared path of reconciliation,” Trudeau said in the video, recorded in British Columbia.

“It’s a story of learning. Learning that we’re stronger not in spite of our differences, but because of them. And it’s a story that’s still being written by incredible Canadians who step up for their community and country.”

Trudeau praised the ongoing efforts of health-care workers, first responders and the armed forces. He said the freedoms Canadians enjoy are “never guaranteed” but are safeguarded everyday by people in this country.

WATCH | Prime minister’s Canada Day message:

Justin Trudeau’s 2024 Canada Day message

In his annual address marking Canada Day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised Canada for what he described as its commitment to pluralism, inclusion and fairness, thanking Canadians from a wide range of backgrounds for their work building the country and safeguarding its rights and freedoms.

In a written statement, Governor General Mary Simon reminded Canadians that the country is shaped by many different points of view.

“I encourage Canadians to embrace and celebrate all our voices and all our stories,” she wrote. “Lead with empathy, curiosity and dialogue. Advance reconciliation at every opportunity — incorporate it into your work, your school and your lives. This is a lifelong journey, and one that is a shared responsibility. Together, we can shape an inclusive Canada.”

WATCH | New Canadian citizens share what Canada Day means to them:

New Canadian citizens share what Canada Day means to them

CBC News spoke to five Canadians who received citizenship on Monday in Ottawa. They expressed the emotional significance of this Canada Day; one noted she’s ‘grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the diversity and cultural richness of this country.’

Trudeau and Simon addressed the country as Canada marks its 157th birthday.

Celebrations are taking place from coast to coast to coast on the national holiday. People in Newfoundland and Labrador are marking Memorial Day on Monday as well.

Ottawa crowds in good spirts

In Ottawa, the capital once more held the official Canada Day ceremonies.

Ongoing construction work on Parliament Hill once again pushed this year’s main stage to LeBreton Flats Park, about 1.5 kilometres to the west. The major rehabilitation of Centre Block reduced the amount of space available for public events on the lawn in front of the Parliament Buildings.

Under a cloudless July sky, thousands of people dressed in red and white made their way to Ottawa’s LeBreton Park Flats for the annual Canada Day celebrations in the national capital.

People were in high spirits as they strolled down Wellington Street to the festival site, taking the airport-style security checks and porta-potties in stride. The sun was blazing by the time things got underway at noon, and many ducked under umbrellas they brought for shade.

Marie-Mai performs during Canada Day celebrations
Canadian singer Marie-Mai, centre, performs during Canada Day celebrations at LeBreton Flats in Ottawa, on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press)

Algonquin elder Claudette Commanda opened the events with an Indigenous reflection. With a small wooden canoe on stage beside her, Commanda spoke about its importance to Indigenous Peoples.

Using the canoe as a symbol of hope and healing, she said Indigenous and Canadian children will journey together.

“Learn from the past, appreciate the present and honour the future, for the future belongs to the children. Together let us journey in peace and friendship,” she said.

A young Indigenous dancer in regalia, an Inuit drummer and a Metis dancer performed during the reflection before they were joined by three children. The elders and children passed the canoe to one another as a drummer performed an honour song.

Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland wearing a red dress, standing at a red podium.
Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland delivers remarks during Canada Day celebrations at LeBreton Flats in Ottawa on Monday. (Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press)

Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland also spoke. Freeland was greeted with loud cheers as she said it was time to set aside “our national modesty” and declare that Canada is the best country in the world.

“Most importantly, ours is a country of good, kind people,” she said.

Freeland was there in place of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who offered greetings via a recorded video while he attended events in St. John’s, N.L. There was a ripple of surprise through the crowd when Freeland introduced the Liberal leader and he appeared on a screen instead of in person.

The Royal Canadian Air Force performed a ceremonial flypast, featuring dozens of aircraft. The RCAF this year is celebrating 100 years since its founding.

Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds and a CF-18 fly over Parliament Hill during a flypast celebrating the RCAF centennial, on Canada Day in Ottawa, on Monday, July 1, 2024.
Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds and a CF-18 fly over Parliament Hill during a flypast celebrating the RCAF centennial, on Canada Day in Ottawa, on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Canada Day in the U.S.

Celebrations also took place across the border at the Canadian Embassy in Washington. 

Families dressed in red and white gathered to celebrate home away from home. The embassy’s Canada Day celebrations aimed to recreate a block party north of the international border with food, friends and family. Canadian music played as kids attempted to throw a beanbag in a giggle-filled game of cornhole. 

“Today is about celebrating Canada. It’s about celebrating our people, our values,” said Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S.

Hillman thanked Americans for taking part in the party. She said the relationship between Canada and the United States is the envy of the world.

“We are friends. We are partners. We are allies,” she said. “It’s something that we shouldn’t take for granted.”

Trudeau in N.L. for Memorial Day

The prime minister and Governor General participated in several ceremonies in Newfoundland and Labrador today, including the entombment of Newfoundland’s Unknown Soldier, who died over 100 years ago in France during the First World War.

WATCH | Unknown Soldier from WWI laid to rest as N.L. marks Memorial Day:

He’s home. Unknown Soldier entombed at Newfoundland’s National War Memorial

From the fields of France to official repatriation ceremonies, the Unknown Soldier was laid to rest at the refurbished Newfoundland National War Memorial on Monday. Thousands in total bore witness to the final part of the Unknown Soldier’s journey. ‘No one can have a greater love than to lay down their life for their country,’ said Canadian Armed Forces chaplain Lt.-Col. Shawn Samson at the ceremony.

CBC marked Canada Day with two CBC News specials, a radio special paying tribute to a Canadian musical icon and an evening show to unite music lovers across the country.

You can find out how to follow the day’s celebrations here.

Latest article