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Canada Prepares to Celebrate Its Sesquicentennial

Canada Prepares to Celebrate Its Sesquicentennial

Canada is throwing a party from coast to coast in 2017 to celebrate its 150th birthday as a nation, making this a great year to discover what’s new and exciting about our neighbour to the north. 

Ottawa, the national capital, will mark not only Canada’s 150th but the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup and the centennial of the National Hockey League. “Hockey in Canada, More Than Just a Game,” opens at the Canadian Museum of History in March. Fans can meet NHL alumni and get their pictures taken with the trophy itself in a Stanley Cup celebration March 15–18. From May 20 to September 4, Ottawa’s 19th-century ByWard Market will be the site of an art installation built from shipping containers called “Inspiration Village” that will host events showcasing each of Canada’s provinces and territories. On Canada Day, July 1, there’ll be a fireworks display on Parliament Hill to mark the date in 1867 when British colonies were united into the Dominion of Canada. 
Montreal and Quebec City are perfect places to get a taste of French Canada’s European charm. Quebec City, with its historic buildings, shops, and cobblestone streets, is a festive spot year-round. A majestic fleet of 40 Tall Ships will be berthed at the Port of Quebec from July 18–23, offering tours and a host of family-friendly activities. In addition to Canada’s 150th, Montreal is celebrating its 375th birthday. The French theater troupe Royale de Luxe will bring giant marionettes to the streets of the Old Port May 19–21 as part of a weekend of activities highlighting Montreal’s past. 

Halifax, on the Atlantic Ocean in Eastern Canada, is the capital of Nova Scotia and a quaint port city with a rich maritime and Scottish-tinged history. Stroll along the boardwalk for shops and restaurants. Get a glimpse of the region’s past with a visit to a restored 200-year-old fishing village. The Tall Ships will also make a stop there, from July 29 to August 1. And entrance fees for Canada’s national parks are waived for 2017, so it’s a good time to visit historic sites like the 19th century Halifax Citadel. 

Cosmopolitan, multiethnic Toronto has planned a yearlong program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions dubbed “To Canada, With Love.” Among the highlights is a celebration that will take place June 30 to July 3 in Nathan Phillips Square to highlight the cultural and artistic diversity of Canada’s largest city. On May 27–28, Doors Open Toronto offers access to 150 historically and culturally significant buildings across the city highlighting 15 decades of Canadian architecture. 

With soaring mountains and a scenic harbor, Vancouver is a terrific spot for travelers who love the great outdoors. Skiing, snowboarding, sailing, and hiking are among the recreational activities available nearby. The country’s 150th birthday will be marked with events July 1–3 at the waterfront Canada Place, a parade and fireworks. From July 22–30, The Drum is Calling Festival will showcase the art, music, and culture of Canada’s First Nation peoples. 

For help planning a trip to Canada, contact Travel Leaders COS at 800-273-0793 or

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