VIDEO: Canada celebrates 152nd birthday with fireworks and flybys

Vancouver-born actor Ryan Reynolds among high-profile celebrities at Parliament Hill party

Canadian flags on the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council as tourists take photos on Parliament Hill before Canada Day, in Ottawa on Thursday, June 27, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a campaign-style speech focused on his Liberal government’s successes over the last four years as he delivered his Canada Day remarks on Parliament Hill on the country’s 152nd birthday.

Speaking to a jovial crowd clad in red and white gathered under a hot sun, Trudeau reminded the assembled masses about last year, when he skipped the festivities in the nation’s capital and instead visited communities impacted by steel and aluminum tariffs that had been imposed as part of a trade dispute with the United States.

In those communities, Trudeau said he saw people helping and supporting one another — a key Canadian quality to celebrate, he said.

But he also dropped a not-so-subtle reminder of how his government was able to renegotiate a new free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico, and eventually got the U.S. tariffs lifted.

“We put up a united front, we leaned on each other, we had each other’s backs and we didn’t get pushed around,” Trudeau said.

He also highlighted some rosy numbers sure to be regularly touted in the upcoming election campaign: the number of jobs created since his Liberals took office in 2015 — one million; the number of long-term boil-water advisories lifted since 2015 — 85; and the number of kids who have been lifted out of poverty — nearly 300,000.

His support for diversity was also a focal point of his remarks, saying he is proud to be part of a country that values multiculturalism while also looking to the future to meet what he called “the great challenges of our times” — climate change, reconciliation and gender equality.

“As a country, it’s important that we celebrate our accomplishments, that we take pride in how far we’ve come. But we can’t forget that Canada did not happen by accident and won’t continue without effort and hard work. We can and we must continue to make our country even better,” he said.

“I have no doubt that together, we can continue to build a country we can all be proud to call home.”

Trudeau wasn’t the only high-profile Canadian at Ottawa’s celebration, which Ottawa police said swelled to approximately 16,000. In addition to Governor General Julie Payette and a smattering of cabinet ministers, actor Ryan Reynolds watched the festivities from the VIP section on Parliament Hill.

And astronaut David Saint-Jacques, freshly back from a stint in space, made a surprise video appearance from a hospital in Houston, TX., where he’s recovering from his trip back to earth.

QUIZ: How much do you really know about Canada?

In rainy Halifax, meanwhile, the occasion was marked with a 21-gun salute on Citadel Hill, sending the sound of cannon blasts echoing through the sky like thunder.

Jihan Estrella was happy to be in Halifax for the holiday after immigrating to Canada from the Philippines just a month ago.

“Even if we don’t know anybody, we talk to people at church and they help us with what we need. I think that’s something Canada has that we’re very fortunate to have experienced,” she said.

Torontonians had their pick of celebrations like the annual Yonge-Dundas Multiculturalism party, which celebrated the country’s diversity with jazz bands, a “Parade of Nations” and live performances from multicultural groups.

Terence Hampton Junior, 21, was visiting Toronto for the first time on a family vacation from Memphis, TN, when he found the Yonge-Dundas celebration. The differences between Toronto and his hometown, he said, are palpable.

“Going around in different places and just seeing all of these people of different colours and different races and backgrounds together and just enjoying each other’s presence, that’s something that’s really important I think that Canada symbolizes well,” said Hampton Junior.

Though the celebrations were little less grand than they were two years ago for the country’s sesquicentennial birthday, 2019 is an anniversary year of sorts: the 140th official holiday celebrating Confederation.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Fairfield plan, council motion create ‘uncertainty’ for average reader: councillor

Public hearing on Victoria neighbourhood plan delayed until September

Victoria Police make contact with cyclist seen clipped in dashcam video

The cyclist reached out to VicPD after the video was shared online

Esquimalt Ribfest in need of volunteers

The three-day festival is happening from Sept. 6 to 8

Live wire repairs result in unplanned outage for 4,400 BC Hydro customers Tuesday night

Equipment issues results in larger, unplanned outage for Saanich, Oak Bay residents

Victoria car show’s ferry event a highlight for arriving hot-rodders

Grand opening event one of several planned for Northwest Deuce Days

VIDEO: Black bear caught climbing tree in Langford neighbourhood

Triangle Mountain residents on alert following bear sighting

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Thunderstorms forecast across B.C.

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for B.C.’s central Interior

Driver who killed B.C. motorcyclist receives absolute discharge

Chase family speechless following decision by BC Review Board

Lower gas prices slow annual inflation rate to Bank of Canada’s 2% bull’s-eye

Prices showed strength in other areas — led by a 17.3 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

B.C. moves to preserve 54 of its biggest, oldest trees

Fir, cedar, spruce, pine, yew set aside from logging

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Most Read