Canada is set to celebrate a huge milestone in 2017 as the country reaches its 150th anniversary. It’ll be a great time to visit, as revellers can take part in a fantastic array of events throughout the year and soak up the excitement of this landmark birthday.
Although Canada has a rich heritage, it only became a country in 1867. Its history begins with Aboriginal peoples thousands of years ago, spans the settlement of Europeans in the 1500s and bears witness to bitter fighting between France and Britain in the 1700s. In 1867, the colonies of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia united in a landmark agreement that formed the Dominion of Canada. It is this confederation and the birth of a nation that Canadian’s are geared up to celebrate.
In preparation for the Big Year in 2017, a countdown has already begun for the last 150 days of 2016. If you’re going on holiday this year, find out which events you can get involved with here.
If you are already planning your Canada holidays in 2017, then read on to see how you can celebrate Canada 150.
Free admission to National Parks
The government of Canada has announced that all Canadian and international visitors to National Parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas will enjoy FREE admission in 2017! That means any area run by Parks Canada – including favourites like Banff NP and Jasper NP – will be free to visit.
Visitors will not have to pay the normal entry fees or buy the permits that are required at the parks and sites run by Parks Canada. Parks Canada has also announced that if you already purchased its 2016 annual Discovery Pass, this will be valid for TWO years to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary next year – great news if you’re visiting Canada again.
Parks Canada run around 100 national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites across the whole of Canada. To see which parks you can visit for free, click here.
As the capital city of Canada, Ottawa will play a leading role in marking the country’s 150th birthday.
The Inspirational Village
The Inspirational Village will pop up at the historic ByWard Market in Ottawa from 20 May to 4 September and will be a centre for performances and special exhibits on the different regions of Canada.
Shipping containers will be transformed into an artistic installation by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. This work will showcase sustainable, cost-effective building and become a public art space. Visitors from across the globe will have an excellent opportunity to learn about the different provinces of Canada in one place.
The 2017 Grey Cup
The Grey Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the Canadian Football League calendar – the CFL championship game. Taking place each year, next year’s 105th Grey Cup will also be hosted in Ottawa.
The match is Canada’s largest single-day sporting event and Jeffrey L. Orridge, who is Commissioner of the Canadian Football League, is very excited.
Speaking to the CFL website, he said, “We’re bringing Canada’s cup to Canada’s capital in the year we all celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.
“It’s going to be very special for our fans and our league and, most of all, our country.”
The championship game will be played at the TD Place Stadium at Lansdowne Park on Sunday 26 November 2017.
Coming to downtown Ottawa from 26 to 30 July 2017 is La Machine.
In a first for North America, the French street theatre company La Machine will bring their extraordinary large-scale machines across the pond and produce an urban theatre in Canada’s capital. What’s more, the French-based production company’s shows will be free for spectators.
The exact location of their Ottawa performance has not yet been announced, but is due to be revealed in the coming months. Check out a video of La Machine’s incredible creations below.
As Canada’s most populous city, Toronto certainly won’t be left out of Canada’s 150th anniversary and has a number of exciting events up its sleeve for 2017.
New Year’s Eve
Reported in an article by The Star, rumour has it that Toronto will be hosting a special New Year’s Eve party that will boast live music in front of the city hall.
It has also been revealed that there will be “intimate, interactive” showcases of Canadian musical talent all across the city.
The NYE party will go off with a bang, with a large and spectacular fireworks display.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra will also celebrate Canada 150 in style with its Canada Mosaic project.
The pan-Canadian project will pay tribute to the different types of music that have come out of Canada, from indigenous to indie, classical to cutting edge.
Check out the video below to find out more about the Canada Mosaic project from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Four-day Canada Day celebration
At Nathan Phillips Square there will be a four-day flagship celebration for Canada Day on 1 July that is expected to attract visitors from across the country and the rest of the world.
The Canada Day celebrations will also be taking place at North York and Scarborough civic centres and Etobicoke’s Colonel Samuel Smith Park. Visitors will be able to see performances by musical talents from all provinces and territories as well as listen to artists from the rest of the world.
The Drum is Calling Festival
Vancity Buzz reports that a festival called The Drum is Calling could be held in Vancouver.
The massive $7.75-million, 11-day festival at downtown Vancouver’s Larwill Park will be organised to celebrate Canada’s indigenous people.
Organisers of the event expect around 125,000 people to attend and join in the 150th birthday celebrations.
To mark Canada’s 150th anniversary, Calgary Marathon will host a 150k race in 2017.
Speaking to Running Magazine, Scotiabank Calgary Marathon executive director Kirsten Fleming explained that the Confederation 150 will see solo runners completing 100k on dedicated loops before joining the 50k ultra road race to round off their mammoth effort.
The 2017 event will take place from 25 to 28 May 2017 and organisers have revealed that there has already been a lot of interest in the new 150k race.
Image Credit: Paul White, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Dave Carruth, The City of Toronto, Jon Bilous (Shutterstock).