Canada’s 150th Birthday Celebrations

Throughout 2017, communities across the country will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. From arts and culture festivals, to fireworks, exhibitions and sporting events, the country will come together to toast the nation’s sesquicentennial birthday, and show our national spirit and pride! Canadians are being encouraged to explore their own country, but the Canada 150 celebrations are a great time for all travelers to discover this country. Lonely Planet named Canada its number one country to visit in 2017, in no small part thanks to our year-long party!
In the City of Vancouver, these celebrations will be known as Canada 150+ in recognition of the much longer history that our Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations people have in the area. Fittingly, the City’s own official Canada 150+ events are centred around this theme. Many of the celebrations will be focused around Canada Day on July 1, but throughout the year you’ll find plenty of reasons to raise a glass to Canada and wish her a happy birthday. Here are some of our favourite Canada 150 celebrations in and around Vancouver, but check back often as we’ll be adding more events to the list throughout the year.
Canada 150 Celebration at Grouse Mountain
July 1, Grouse Mountain
Wear your red, wave the Canadian flag with pride, and enjoy all of the festivities and uniquely British Columbian activities the Mountain has to offer! Try your hand at axe-throwing, show off your hockey skills at our puck shoot-out and capture a keepsake photo with our mascot Grizwald the Bear. Take in Canadian movie classics in the Theatre in the Sky, or enjoy live music while sipping on a cold one in the beer and barbecue garden. Not to be missed are the special Canada 150 edition of the World Famous Lumberjack Show, ranger talks at the Grizzly Bear habitat, Birds in Motion demonstration and more.
Canada 150 Drumming Celebration
July 1, Various Communities
Canada celebrates its 150th Anniversary of Confederation in 2017! This is a historic moment with the power of bringing people and communities together as we celebrate our heritage, values, sense of pride and belonging. All Canadians from all walks of life including First Nations, immigrants – early and new, people from all ethnicity, language, culture, age, are invited to participate in this once-in-a-life-time remarkable experience! This simultaneous, national drumming celebration aims to achieve a Guinness World Record! This is an All Canadian World Record Celebration!
Canada 150+ Murals
July onwards – various sites throughout the City of Vancouver
The City of Vancouver has commissioned First Nations artists to create public artworks and murals celebrating Canada 150+ across the city, including some high-profile sites like the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and Larwill Park.
The Gathering of Canoes
July 14
Vancouverites are invited to participate in the Pulling Together Canoe Journey. Up to 30 canoes, with First Nations, Public Service Agencies and youth paddlers, will request permission to land on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Ceremony, activations, and feasting will ground the afternoon’s activities.
Canada 150: Canada Goes Pacific
July 21-23, Granville Island
The Centre culturel francophone de Vancouver will present a three-day program of enriching and significant artistic and cultural experiences in French. To celebrate this historic anniversary of our country, both indoor and outdoor activities and shows will be presented (mainly) on Granville Island.
The Drum is Calling Festival
July 22–30, Larwill Park, downtown Vancouver
This is is a nine-day, immersive festival of Indigenous and diverse arts and culture. Highlighting the festival will be stellar performances from iconic artists such as singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, PowWowStep creator DJ Shub, singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, country sensation Crystal Shawanda, Juno Award winner William Prince, rising R&B star George Leach, genre-defying artist Kinnie Starr, author Tomson Highway, and spoken word poet and performer Shane Koyczan. Other artists such as the Boom Booms, Midnight Shine and Dj Kookum will perform. Festival goers will experience a different theme each day from honouring the Host Nations, Elders and Matriarchs to Youth, Warriors and Friendships. Theatre for Young People, carving and weaving workshops, a Literary Series, play readings, films, and the best of Indigenous artisans, vendors and food. The Drum is Calling Festival Backgrounder contains more detailed information.
Zumba at Canada Place
Every Monday, July 24–Aug 28 (No class Aug 7 for B.C. Day), North Point, Canada Place
Zumba® at Canada Place is a fun, free event hosted on the beautiful North Point of Canada Place. Instructors from Zumba® Vancouver will teach classes and provide participants the opportunity to practice Zumba® in one of Vancouver’s most stunning locations. No dance experience or partner is needed for this fun fitness class.
Waterfront Cinema at Canada Place
Every Thursday, July 27 – Aug 31, North Point, Canada Place
Back by popular demand, Waterfront Cinema will be hosted on the newly refurbished North Point at Canada Place. Guests will come out to the North Point every Thursday evening from July 27 – August 31 this summer to watch a movie under the stars, featuring great Canadian talent. Presented by Coast Capital Savings.
Picnics on the Point at Canada Place
Every Friday, July 28 – Sept 1, North Point, Canada Place
Celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial at Picnics on the Point, a community celebration at one of the most breathtaking spots in Vancouver, Canada Places’ newly revitalized North Point. Bring your picnic and enjoy musical entertainment.
Walk for Reconciliation
September 24, Downtown Vancouver
This 2-3 km downtown walk will showcase high-profile keynote speakers as well as Indigenous sites and programming and educational experiences about Reconciliation. In partnership with Reconciliation Canada and the legacy of the inspirational Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, O.B.C., the walk will remind Vancouverites of the healing and transformational power of ‘Namwayut — We Are All One.

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