Canada Day: Celebrations held nationwide, Trudeau hails ‘inclusive’ values

Thousands converged in the nation’s capital and across the country to celebrate Canada Day, marking 157 years of Confederation.

In his annual message, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said Canada’s story is one that is “still being written,” speaking of the values of inclusion.

“Together, let’s keep improving this incredible place we all call home. Let’s make our communities more vibrant, dynamic, and inclusive. Let’s break barriers and create opportunity for everyone,” he said.

Trudeau also said Canadians must build a future “where every generation has a fair shot, no matter who you are, where you come from, how you pray, or who you love.”

The national celebration started at noon Eastern Time and includes performances by Bedouin Soundclash and Montreal artist Marie-Mai. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Candian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge both attended the celebrations.

People in downtown Ottawa watched a special fly-past in honour of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 100th anniversary featuring the Snowbirds aerobatics team.

The celebrations will be capped off by a fireworks display at around 10 p.m., also at LeBreton Flats.

At Thomson Memorial Park in Toronto, blue skies and sunny weather greeted hundreds of people dressed in red and white and waving small Canadian flags. Families set up picnics and children played on inflatable bouncy castles.

Trudeau did not attend events in Ottawa, but was instead in St. John’s, N.L., where he took part in a ceremony to mark 100 years of the Newfoundland National War Memorial and the interment of the remains of a First World War soldier.

The Unknown Soldier was flown home from France in May and was laid to rest on Monday in a black granite tomb.

Trudeau also attended a Canada Day party at an arena in nearby Mount Pearl. He shook hands, took selfies and hoisted babies for about 20 minutes as kids jumped in bouncy castles and local band KitchenParti played a few traditional Newfoundland folk songs.

In his annual Canada Day message, Trudeau also paid tribute to fallen veterans.

“When Canadian soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy, they knew they were risking their lives. But freedom – even for those across an ocean, even for generations of people they would never meet – was worth fighting for,” he said.

This year’s anniversary airshow features a series of aircraft that date back to the Second World War along with planes and helicopters the Air Force is flying today.

People also got a glimpse of the RCAF’s future, courtesy of the U.S. Navy, which flew in several of its own aircraft including a P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane. Canada signed a $4.3-billion deal to buy a fleet of P-8s last November and they’re set to arrive in 2026.

The grand finale featured the tremendous roar of a pair of F-35 fighter jets, travelling at more than 350 knots, or around 650 km/h.

Canada has a $19-billion deal to buy 88 of the jets, but the first of them also won’t arrive until 2026. This pair was flown in by the Vermont Air National Guard.

On Parliament Hill, where the main ceremonies had been held in years before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Air Force pipes and drums band and the air cadets bands will perform throughout the day, and the SkyHawks parachute team is set to drop by at 3 p.m.

Athletes who are representing Team Canada at the Olympics and Paralympics in Paris this summer will also be part of the events at LeBreton Flats.

Elsewhere, ceremonies, shows and other festivities are set to take place in cities across the country.

In Vancouver, 40 people from 18 countries became Canadian citizens in a ceremony to mark the beginning of the festivities at Canada Place.

Not all cities marked the occasion in their usual style. The organizers of Montreal’s Canada Day parade announced last month the event had been cancelled, citing politics and logistical red tape for the move.

Halifax also had to cancel some celebrations Monday due to weather.


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