On the eve of the party of the year in Ottawa, residents across the city are festooning their yards and balconies with flags big and small. They’re getting their shopping out of the way, digging red and white paraphernalia out of the closet, and gearing up to celebrate the country’s 150th birthday.
It’s a big deal. And not only because, rain or shine, our community is welcoming tourists and guests from all over to join in the festivities.
In fact, the live entertainment, activities and special attractions are expected to draw huge crowds – some estimates suggest up to 500,000 people — to Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park, the Canadian Museum of History and other hot spots in the city. Then there’s the spectacular fireworks show set to blast off at 11 p.m. You can expect to be dazzled.
But even if you attend one of the smaller celebrations in Stittsville, Barrhaven, Kanata or Orleans … or stay home to light sparklers in your backyard, the occasion is nonetheless dazzling.
Because we’re Canadian. And very proud of it.
It may come as a surprise to the rest of the world that Canada has been named the #1 country in the world in 2017 for Quality of Life.
That Lonely Planet named Canada the best country in the world to visit in 2017 and the venerable New York Times also declared Canada the place to go for 2017.
And that a study by U.S. News in partnership with Y&R’s BAV and Wharton ranks Canada # 2 in a list of 80 countries (second only to Switzerland).
It’s high praise, but a no-brainer to a lot of people who live here. Many of us feel we lucked out to be born or to land here and make this place home. It’s pretty spectacular, from the timbits to the poutine appreciation, eh?
Just recently, our federal government passed Bill C-16 to recognize and protect gender diversity. And today, the prime minister and his wife paid a visit to the indigenous activists who’ve set up a teepee on the Hill.
No strong-arm tactics or riot police or histrionics. Instead, respect.
Canada is far from perfect. The plight of our Indigenous people is unacceptable. Hate, intolerance, bigotry and injustice exist in “the Great White North,” just as they do in most places. Nevertheless, we have plenty of reasons to join the celebration.
Happy Birthday, Canada. And thanks!