Canadians need no invitation to party and this year marks the biggest bash of them all! Consider this your official invitation to help celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.
The sesquicentennial is a historic moment that brings with it a strong sense of community as the entire country acknowledges its rich history and what it means to be Canadian. For travellers, there’s never been a better time to see Canada at her best, to meet her welcoming people, visit the iconic sights, and explore the diverse, lesser-known destinations.
All eyes are on Ottawa as it sets the party tone of the nation with a year-long program of explosive, imaginative events. But the festivities are not confined to the capital city. From the vast tundra of Manitoba to the lighthouse trails of Nova Scotia, every province and territory will commemorate this very special birthday.
Here are 15 ways to experience the true spirit of Canada and raise a glass to this momentous occasion.
1. Join the C-150 Party
Join the sea of red and white party goers celebrating Canada Day in Ottawa on 1 July at the C-150 Party. Feast on incredible Canadian cuisine prepared by some of our nation’s top chefs, dance the night away and pause to watch the splendour of the fireworks.
2. Visit a National Historic Site
Discover the stories of Canada’s history at any one of the 168 National Historic Sites. In celebration of the 150th anniversary, admission is free for all visitors to national parks, national historic sites, and marine conservation areas throughout 2017.
3. Ride the Alaska Highway
Walk, cycle, run, horse-ride, ski, or paddle along The Great Trail, set for completion in August 2017. Stretching 24,000 kilometres and connecting three oceans, The Great Trail will be the longest recreational trail in the world, embodying Canada’s magnificent urban, prairie, rural and wilderness landscapes.
7. Become a soldier for a day
Step back in time in the maritime province of Nova Scotia. Become a “Soldier for a Day” and fire a musket at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, or taste heritage chocolate at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. While you’re there, feast on the best lobster you’ll ever taste!
8. Relax at a wellness sanctuary
Rejuvenate the body and soul at the newly opened Le Monastere des Augustines wellness sanctuary. Steeped in history, this boutique hotel in the heart of Quebec City preserves the spirit of the Augustine Sisters that resided there as far back as the 1600s. Taste your way through Old Quebec with a walking Quebec City Food Tour, where you’ll sample both traditional and modern cuisine, and learn what it means to be bona fide Québécois.
9. Live it up in Toronto
Canada’s largest city is a dynamic medley of cultures, cosmopolitan art, fascinating neighbourhoods, designer and vintage shopping, and a world-renowned food scene. Spend the day shopping on Queen Street, Yorkville, and Kensington Markets, and break for lunch at dining hot-spot FRANK, within the walls of the Art Gallery of Ontario.
10. Enjoy breathtaking views by bike
Cycle the famous seawall of Stanley Park in Vancouver for incredible views of the Burrard Inlet. Explore this 1,000-acre park and marvel at the giant trees that still live in this preserved forest. Take a moment to ponder the awe-inspiring totem poles and learn about the First Nations that lived on this land. Relax on one of the beaches in the morning and then play a round of pitch-and-putt in the afternoon.
11. Take in endless stars
Join the double celebration in Manitoba as the province honours Canada’s 150th anniversary and the 300th anniversary of the Prince of Wales Fort. Originally a fur trading post, the oldest stone fort in Canada is now the only place you can feast on a five-course meal under the Northern Lights.
14. Experience the majesty of tall ships
Position yourself in one of the eastern provinces of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick or Québec, and witness the dazzling arrival of the Tall Ships, an international regatta set to be greeted with festivals and events in each Canadian port.