CANADA 150: CELEBRATING A NATION
This year marks Canada’s 150th anniversary, and Canadians are using the occasion as the springboard for a dizzying array of celebrations and art projects. The commemorations range from Sky Lounge, a dinner party on a platform suspended 46 m (150 ft.) above the nation’s capital, to a tall ships regatta that will visit six provinces.
Want to join in the fun? One of the best opportunities will be on Canada Day, July 1, when communities large and small will celebrate with fireworks, concerts and more. Here are just a few of the many, many other ways to enjoy Canada’s big birthday party throughout 2017.
In Toronto, the TIFF Bell Lightbox—headquarters of the Toronto International Film Festival—is running a free program of Canadian movies all year long (www.tiff. net). Movie buffs can also check out National Canadian Film Day 150 on April 19, when more than 600 screenings of Canadian movies will take place nationwide (www.canadianfilmday.ca/about-ncfd).
North: A Pan-Territorial Celebration— mid-October to mid-November—will be a series of events featuring performers, artists, and Dene, Inuit and Arctic athletes from the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut (www.north150nord.ca).
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is coordinating with some 40 ensembles across the country to produce Canada Mosaic, a year-long series of performances of Canadian compositions (canadamosaic.tso. ca). Also for classical music fans, the National Youth Orchestra will stop in 12 cities across the country to perform new works during The Edges of Canada Tour, July 20 to August 15. In select cities, the orchestra will perform with Native Canadian artists or the National Youth Choir (www.nyoc.org/2017tour?language=en_CA&).
Several regions are celebrating the country’s anniversary with epic running events. For instance, Manitoba’s Canada 150 Ultramarathon on Canada Day winds through 241 km (150 mi.) of forests and hills in the Canadian Shield (www.canada150ultra.com), and the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon—May 25 to 28—is running
special solo and relay 150K (93 mi.) races this year (www.calgarymarathon.com).
As a huge birthday present to the country, Parks Canada is offering free admission to all of its national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites throughout 2017. As just three examples of ways to put this to good use: see Canada’s highest mountain in Kluane National Park and Reserve in the Yukon, spot beluga whales right from the shore in Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park in Québec, or tour Green Gables Heritage Place—which inspired the setting of the classic children’s novel Anne of Green Gables—in Prince Edward Island. The free Discovery Pass is available at www.parkscanada.gc.ca.
The Great Trail is also scheduled for completion in 2017. Conceived 25 years ago during Canada’s 125th anniversary celebrations, the nation-spanning network of recreational trails will stretch almost
24,000 km (14,913 mi.) and cross every province and territory—there’s even a trail across the tip of Baffin Island in Nunavut (www.thegreattrail.ca).
In the Peace Liard region of northern British Columbia, artists and other residents are collaborating on a project to celebrate both Canada’s big birthday and the 75th anniversary of the Alaska Highway. They are transforming one of the machines used to build the highway into a piece of steampunk art (www.peaceliardarts.org/special-projects/public-art-sculpture).
A charitable organization called Partners in Art is coordinating Land Marks 2017, June 10 to 25, a series of contemporary art installations in or near national parks, marine conservation areas and historic sites (www.landmarks 2017.ca), including Pingo Canadian Landmark in the Northwest Territories and Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Another nationwide project, Canada 150 Mosaic, will see the creation of 150 murals in communities across the country, with railroads as the connecting theme (www.canada150mosaic.com).
The Winnipeg Art Gallery is coordinating ART EXPRESS’D (canada150.wag.ca), in which three shipping containers converted into mobile art studios will travel across the country to encourage the public to express their feelings about Canada in art—June to August.
AT THE MUSEUMS
The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax began celebrating Canada’s big birthday early by developing an exhibition called Canada: Day 1 as a Canada 150 legacy project. Focusing on newcomers’ first impressions of their new home, the exhibition has been crisscrossing the country for several years. This year, two versions of it will be on display simultaneously in special recognition of the country’s anniversary: one at the
Canada Museum of History in Gatineau, Québec from June 2017 to January 2018, and the other at the Halifax museum from April to October 2017 (www.pier21.ca/canadaday-1-travelling-exhibition-schedule).
In Toronto, the Ontario Science Centre is presenting Canada 150: Discovery Way, an installation celebrating Canadian scientific achievements. It will run throughout 2017 (www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/calendar/336).
ONE OF A KIND
Rendez-vous 2017, a regatta of over
40 tall ships, will be visiting more than 30 communities in Ontario, Québec and Atlantic Canada between June 30 and August 20 (www.rdv2017.com).
In Montréal, a $39-million project will see the landmark Jacques Cartier Bridge illuminated with thousands of lights that will change colour for different occasions throughout the year, to celebrate Canada’s birthday and the 375th anniversary of the city’s founding. The illuminations start on May 17.
Ottawa, the nation’s capital, is also hosting a huge range of sesquicentennial events. They include the Sky Lounge, the aforementioned dinner in the sky (July 7 to 22), a multimedia show in a soon-to-open underground transit station (June to September), huge mechanical creatures— La Machine—making their way through the city core from July 22 to 26 and a planned illumination of Chaudière Falls late in the year (www.ottawa2017.ca).
In spring, 150 communities across the country will bloom with red and white tulips as part of the 150 Celebration Garden program (www.canadasgardenroute.ca). Many are small towns and villages, such as Saltcoats, Saskatchewan, and Hillsborough, New Brunswick.
Vancouver hosts the second-largest Canada Day bash in the country, outside of Ottawa, and this year the celebrations at Canada Place will go on for three days, with food trucks, fireworks, a citizenship ceremony and more (www.canadaplace.ca).
SKY LOUNGE • OTTAWA CELEBRATIONS BUREAU
That’s just a taste of the events coming up. For more information on Canada 150 projects across the country, please see www.canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1475163068164; www.canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1468262573081
NEW YEAR’S EVE, IGNITING OTTAWA 2017 CELEBRATIONS • OTTAWA CELEBRATIONS BUREAU