Canada Day celebrations reached out across the shores today as thousands of Canadians flocked to Trafalgar Square in London, England to help usher in Canada's 146th birthday.
Jann Arden, Hamilton rock band Arkells and The Sheepdogs were among the performers at Canada Day International in London, where about 85,000 Canadians live. The Tragically Hip took the stage later. New York was also hosting celebrations for the country's birthday, with Spirit of the West, Joel Plaskett and Lights all scheduled to perform.
Earlier in Ottawa, Call Me Maybe Carly Rae Jepsen and the indie rock band Metric hit the stage at Parliament Hill, as well as retired astronaut Chris Hadfield. More than 80,000 converged on Parliament Hill for the afternoon's Canada Day festivities with even more expected for the evening show and fireworks. Lineups for a good spot to take in the entertainment began as early as 4:30 a.m. ET.
For some in the Ottawa crowd, it was their very first Canada Day spent in Canada and they were making the most of the celebration. "My first Canada Day, so I'm so excited to be here," said Tonton Mundele. "I've heard about Canada a long time ago, since I was very small from Congo. I had a dream to immigrate to Canada."
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Political dignitaries such as Prime Minster Stephen Harper and Heritage Minister James Moore were also part of the celebrations.
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Harper said Canadian values were demonstrated in the way in which Albertans coped with the devastating floods.
"What an example they set. When the floods forced so many from their homes, communities dug deep, neighbours helped neighbours, and people sheltered complete strangers. That's the spirit that makes Canada the best country in the world. The best bar none."
Gov. Gen. David Johnston also addressed the crowd, paying tribute to the late Stompin' Tom Connors by massaging the lyrics of his iconic The Hockey Song.
"Stompin’ Tom truly loved Canada. So let me borrow from one of his most beloved songs about this country, and say: Hello out there. We're on the air. It's Canada Day today!"
Other high-profile Canadians also took part in the celebrations in Ottawa this afternoon. Those include double-lung transplant recipient Hélène Campbell, who has championed organ donation around the world.
The Canada Day evening show will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET. Jepsen and Metric will return to perform in the evening, along with Hadfield, who will join Barenaked Ladies' Ed Robertson in a special musical performance.
The celebrations will culminate with a fireworks show at 10 p.m. ET
Other festivities across Canada include:
- Vancouver's Canada Place festivities begin at 10 a.m. PT, with a parade at 7 p.m. and a fireworks show at 10:30 p.m.
- In Calgary, celebrations start at 10 a.m. MT, with some events relocated to Shaw Millennium Park because of flood recovery efforts in the city.
- Edmontonians will be treated to a fireworks show over the city's river valley parks and the North Saskatchewan River at 11 p.m. MT.
- In Regina, the Royal Canadian Artillery will kick off the festivities in Wascana Park at noon CT with a 21-round gun salute, and The Trews will cap off an afternoon of musical performances at 8:30 p.m.
- In Winnipeg, the entertainment begins at the Forks at 1 p.m. CT. In the evening, local indie band Imaginary Cities will team up with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for a performance that will lead into a fireworks show at 11 p.m.
- In Toronto at Mel Lastman Square, a concert and fireworks display will be held beginning at 5 p.m. ET.
- The Old Port of Montreal will host a fireworks display at 10:15 p.m. ET, following a day of musical performances that begins at 11 a.m.
- In Quebec City, Canada Day celebrations will take place on the Plains of Abraham, with games, shows, and fireworks later in the evening.
- In Moncton, celebrations get underway with a bike ride at 11 a.m. AT, followed by a concert headlined by Colin James at Main Street and Riverfront Park, and a fireworks display at 10 p.m.
- In Dartmouth, N.S., live music by Skratch Bastid, Paper Lions, Gloryhound, The Elwins and Tokyo Police Club will begin at 5 p.m. at Alderney Landing, with a fireworks show over Halifax harbour set for 10 p.m.
- Charlottetown's Victoria Park will host events beginning at noon AT, with live music and a fireworks show at 10 p.m.
- In Yellowknife, Somba K'e Civic Plaza will host celebrations between 12:30 MT and 4 p.m.
- In Iqaluit, festivities begin with a pancake breakfast and flea market, then a Canada Day Parade.
- In St. John's, Canada Day will start with a sunrise ceremony at 6 a.m. NT at Signal Hill National Historic Site, with afternoon celebrations beginning at noon on Confederation Hill and a fireworks display scheduled for 10 p.m.
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