From our team to yours, here’s a list of ideas to help you make the most of Canada’s sesquicentennial year.
1. Visit A National Park for FREE
That’s right, you heard us right: a government-run service is FREE in honour of Canada 150. There has never been a better excuse to dig out the old tent, dust off the sleeping bags, pack the kids and the dog into the car and go discover one of Canada’s many iconic and beautiful natural treasures.
2. Experience the Capitol of Parties
I was in Ottawa for Canada’s 125th Birthday and can tell you it was a mighty good time up on the Hill. But the memory which really stuck with me wasn’t the actual official celebration, nor the after-party in Ottawa’s market district. No, it was getting from one to the other. After the fireworks ended and the official program was done, well over a quarter of a million proud, elated Canadians marched from Parliament Hill to the market, shoulder to shoulder, arms around each other—friend or stranger, it didn’t matter, we were all brothers and sisters that night—singing “O Canada” over and over and over again. It was surreal. I felt a kind of national pride I’d not experienced before nor since. It was an experience of a lifetime I’ll never forget. But I’m willing to bet 150 will be all that and more.
3. Celebrate Closer to Home or Outside Your Comfort Zone
Can’t make it to Ottawa this July 1st? No problem. There are parties and events happening all across the country throughout the year in honour of Canada 150. So many in fact, that it would be impossible to list them all here. But luckily, some industrious folks at Canada.gc.ca have put together a website listing all the parties, events, festivals, and other happenings which will be bigger and better than ever this year. There’s something for every taste and every scene. Or, get out of your comfort zone and go explore how a completely different scene than what you’re used to celebrates Canada’s sesquicentennial! It’s a great way to discover your country, meet your neighbours, make new friends, and share once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
4. Pay Homage to the Hockey Gods
So you think you’ve got a love for the game? Put your passion for Canada’s national pastime to the test by visiting the new exhibit Hockey at the Canadian Museum of History. Running from March 10 to October 9, 2017, the exhibit offers fans of the game a new way to feed their obsession. See one-of-a-kind artifacts, video clips of historic highlights, and personal memorabilia in this interactive experience. Bring a pair of sunglasses (in case they have a display of Don Cherry’s wardrobe).
5. Go on a Cross-Canada Culinary Tour
So you love watching Andy Bourdain on CNN but can’t help feeling a little jealous (and hungry) at times? Canada’s 150th is the perfect excuse to draw up your own “must-go/must have” gastronomical bucket list. Here’s a short-list of items to help you get started on your own travel menu:
- Beavertail at Byward Market in Ottawa.
- East Coast cod and lobster.
- Montreal bagel: hot, moist, fresh from the wood burning oven on Rue Saint Viateur.
- Montreal smoked meat sandwich from—where else?—Shwartz’s Deli.
- West Coast sockeye salmon.
- A craft beer—any craft beer, so long as you have it on location at the brewery.
- Poutine, just about anywhere, eaten from a cardboard container with a wooden fork.
- Bison or beef in Alberta.
- Find the best reviewed authentic little hole-in-the-wall ethnic food places wherever you are.
- Wine tasting at one of Canada’s wineries.
- First-Prize winners at a Butter tarts competition—yes, they’re a Canadian invention.
- Moose or venison in Northern Ontario.
- Barbecue…outside, in the rain or snow, with a beer.
Honorable mentions which didn’t make the official Top-5 List:
- Binge-watch all episodes of “Great White North” with Bob & Doug Mckenzie (SCTV and/or Royal Canadian Air Farce, The Frantics: Four on the Floor, The Kids in the Hall, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Red/Green Show, and any of the countless other iconic Canadian comedy shows).
- Catch the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s Canada 150 Tour during the spring and fall of 2017.
- Collect all 10 commemorative stamps.
- Attend any number of special events and exhibitions being put on in honour of Canada 150.
No matter what you do, be safe, be proud and have fun being Canadian!