Canada Day will have a little extra oomph this year.
For the nation’s 150th-birthday celebration, this July 1 is going to be a bigger deal across the country. The occasion will only be complete if Canadians feel the pride and patriotism that Canada Day is meant to stir inside us.
July 1 is always a lot of fun. The visuals and the symbolism of a red-clad community gathering at Maffeo Sutton Park, for example, is special.
We think Canada 150 is more than just a number and should come with some added meaning. It turns an annual holiday into a recollection and celebration of the past 150 years of our history, and, we hope, an awareness that the connection between the people and the land extends thousands of years before that.
Nanaimo his risen to the occasion in 2017 and is turning up the volume and the tint for this year’s Canada Day. The schedule of events includes all the usual activities, plus a special ceremony at the military museum and tours of a visiting navy vessel, a commemorative bathtub race across the Strait of Georgia, a more extensive entertainment lineup at the downtown park, and fireworks, something that aren’t usually a part of the festivities in Nanaimo.
One weekend party will be here and gone pretty quickly. Even the 150 years since confederation can’t represent a complete picture of Canada, nor are they meant to. A picture of Canada is something we would never wish to be completed, as our country continues to change, along with our culture, identity and values. If Canada is a picture, it’s one that has to be coloured outside the lines.
We imagine that Canada has surpassed the hopes and expectations people had for this land 150 years ago. We sometimes get it wrong; we often get it right.
Celebrating Canada brings with it some obligation to care about Canada. First of all, let’s have some fun on Saturday, dress the part and fill the park with patriotism. At the same time, let’s be prouder than ever to live in this country we call home, and more determined than ever to keep creating the kind of Canada we want to celebrate.