If you didn’t already know, this has been a pretty big year for Canada. It’s been celebrating the 150th anniversary of when it became a country. To mark this momentous occasion, the 16 provinces and territories have been holding Canada 150 events, from art exhibitions to music festivals and homages to Canada’s indigenous communities, all throughout the year.

Although Canada Day passed by on July 1 with a host of parties, there are still plenty of ways you can celebrate the country’s 150th anniversary on your trip to Canada. Check out some of the most exciting events and fascinating exhibitions coming up this autumn and winter, to see out Canada’s special year.

woman lies across the Canada 150 sign with trees in the background

Mìwàte: Illumination of the Chaudiere Falls

You may have heard of Ottawa’s Chaudiere Falls, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to see them illuminated? From October 6 to November 5, the cascading waterfalls will be beautifully lit to highlight their natural beauty in an exhibition called ‘Mìwàte’. Mìwàte means ‘dazzled by a light or fire’ in Anishiaabe, according to Ottawa 2017, the language of the Algonquin people.

The dynamic light display and soundscape are designed to evoke the culture of indigenous people, in particular the Algonquin heritage of the region. Alongside the display, interpretation panels will tell the story of the presence of indigenous people in the area.


Pieces of Canada, 150 stories

multi-coloured lights projected onto Niagara Falls

This unique exhibition at the Niagara Falls History Museum displays objects that the people of Niagara feel tell a story about the country they live in. As well as personal stories, each delving into different aspects of the nation, you can view the artefacts donated by local people. To create this remarkable exhibition, Niagara Falls Museums asked ‘What do you have that means Canada to you?’ The result was a powerful response from the community. The gallery will be open until December 31 for Canada 150.

If you’re in the area over winter on your Canadian holiday, be sure to also check out the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights, which is open from November 18 to January 31. These spectacular light displays light up Niagara Parkway, Dufferin Islands and the Niagara Falls themselves. It would be a great way to ring in the New Year.

Legacies of Confederation: A New Look at Manitoba History

Learn about the impact of Canadian Confederation on the people and the land in Manitoba through this fascinating exhibition. Legacies of Confederation: A New Look at Manitoba History will be on display at Manitoba Museum from October 18 to January 7, 2018.

Manitoba was the fifth province to join Canada and has a wealth of history. In this exhibition, artefacts and specimens from the museum’s collection and loaned items rarely seen before will bring the story to life. What better time to discover more about the province and the country than during Canada 150.


Leonard Cohen exhibition

Although it’s technically part of Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations, the exhibition opens during the year of Canada 150. The Musée d’art contemporian de Montréal (MAC) created an exhibition initially in collaboration with Cohen, who sadly passed away in November 2016. See a collection of new works by local and international artists inspired by Cohen and learn about his poetry and influence on the world. The exhibition opens on November 9th, 2017 and is open until April 9th, 2018.


Points of View: National Human Rights Photography Exhibition

River Park Church and the Marda Loop Justice Film Festival in Calgary will be hosting a travelling photography exhibition produced by the Canadian Museum of Human Rights this winter, titled Points of View. Over 70 photographs submitted by Canadians will be displayed to “bring attention to human rights issues as they pertain to Canadians,” according to Alliance 150. The images will be split into four categories: reconciliation, inclusion and diversity, human rights and the environment and freedom of expression.

An important part of celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary is appreciating and understanding the country’s culture today. Check out Points of View if you’re visiting Calgary between November 14 and November 19.


105th Grey Cup and Festival

Get into the football spirit at the 105th Grey Cup and Festival, this year hosted in Ottawa. The event is an amalgamation of the Canadian Football League championship final and an exciting festival, kicks off on November 21. “The game and series of festival events and activities that lead up to it will mark the apex of the year-long Canada 150 celebrations in Canada’s capital,” says the Grey Cup Festival website. The five-day celebration will include concerts, entertainment and events for all ages. For full details and ticket information, check out the Grey Cup Festival 105 website.

Cavalcade of Lights, Toronto

fireworks over the Toronto skyline

The Cavalcade of Lights at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto is an annual holiday tradition. The city’s beautiful Christmas tree is lit and some of Canada’s top artists perform to celebrate the festive season. If you’re planning a holiday to Canada in search of some festive cheer, you can’t miss out on this glitzy event, which takes place on November 25th. It’s also completely free!

Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings – Canadian Olympic Curling Trials

a curling stone on the ice

As Canada was one of the seven countries that founded the International Curling Federation (now the World Curling Federation), it’s little wonder why the sport is so popular here. And if you’re visiting Ottawa between December 2nd and 10th, you’re in luck, as the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials (otherwise known as Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings) are taking place. The winners of the men’s and women’s events will be chosen to represent Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics. To witness this fascinating sport and get into the Canada 150 spirit, get your tickets here.


Canadian Rock Story, Quebec

What better way to see out Canada 150 than by celebrating with the locals to the sounds of the country’s biggest artists? Dance to some of Canada’s biggest music legends including Guess Who, Alanis Morrisette, Bryan Adams and Leonard Cohen. Canadian Rock Story takes place on December 27th and 28th at the iconic Fairmont Chateau Frontenac. With such a romantic winter setting, it’s perfect for anyone travelling to Canada over the Christmas holidays.


Concord’s New Year’s Eve Vancouver

fireworks being launched from a platform in the sea in Vancouver

To see out Canada 150 in style, head to the country’s largest New Year’s Eve party. Over 70,000 people attended Concord’s New Year’s Eve in Vancouver last year, with many more admiring the beautiful fireworks displays as part of the city’s free celebrations. This fantastic event really does have it all – spectacular fireworks, live music and plenty of food stalls to keep you going through the night. Check out the website for details on how to get tickets for the event, or where best to see the fireworks for free.


New Year’s Eve Comedy Extravaganza, Toronto

See in 2018 with laughter at the New Year’s Eve Comedy Extravaganza in Toronto’s Massey Hall. Now in its 17th year, the event will close out Canada 150 with a stellar line-up of comedians, hosted by stand-up comic Robert Klein. If you’re visiting Toronto over the New Year, this event is well worth checking out.

Image credits: Dave Bloggs, Chase N

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