Travel Guide to Canada



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.canadianfi­

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.north150no­

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 (


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.canada150u­, and the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon—May 25 to 28—is running

special solo and relay 150K (93 mi.) races this year (www.calgarymar­


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.parkscanad­

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.thegreattr­


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.peaceliard­

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, 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.canada150m­

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is coordinati­ng ART EXPRESS’D (, 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.


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 (

In Toronto, the Ontario Science Centre is presenting Canada 150: Discovery Way, an installati­on celebratin­g Canadian scientific achievemen­ts. It will run throughout 2017 (www.ontariosci­


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 (

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 (

In spring, 150 communitie­s across the country will bloom with red and white tulips as part of the 150 Celebratio­n Garden program (www.canadasgar­ 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.canadaplac­

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That’s just a taste of the events coming up. For more informatio­n on Canada 150 projects across the country, please see­164;­081 NEW YEAR’S EVE, IGNITING OTTAWA 2017 CELEBRATIO­NS •...

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