Canada Day: Celebrations Amid Protests and Reconciliation

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Canada Day: celebrations amid protests and reconciliation

Fireworks closed the Canada Day celebrations.

To the traditional festive activities of July 1st – big shows, fireworks, political speeches, etc. – this year added demonstrations against health restrictions linked to COVID-19 and against the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau in the federal capital, the epicenter of the celebrations.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Heritage Pablo Rodriguez and Governor General Mary Simon kicked off the day by participating in an Indigenous retreat, the first after a year 2021 clouded by discoveries of hundreds of unmarked graves near former residential schools for Aboriginal people.

Last year, many cities, large and small, had decided to cancel their festivities because of these gruesome discoveries and out of respect for the bereaved communities.

Members of the Anishinabe nation held a water ceremony, a first on a Canada Day.

There are also serious errors, gaps in our history, underlined Justin Trudeau in allusion to the burials of Kamloops and to all those which were discovered thereafter.

Canada was never perfect and is not perfect today. Yes, Canada is one of the best countries in the world, but our efforts to improve it do not end, he added during his speech on the sidelines of the midday show.

< p class="sc-v64krj-0 knjbxw">Aerial image of the crowd gathered at LeBreton Plains Park for Canada Day.

After more than two years of distancing, it's great to be together again, for his part launched Minister Rodriguez at the start of the show, which notably featured artists Lisa Leblanc, Kellie Lodder, Julie Dassylva and Chantal Kreviazuk .

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The big stage was installed this year at Parc des Plaines-LeBreton.

Mary Simon, on her first Canada Day as Governor General, saluted health care workers for their dedication over the past two years. They are one of the big reasons we can get together again. I want to congratulate them for their work, she said.

Unlike previous years, the main stage was not installed in front of the parliament. The performances take place instead at Plaines-LeBreton Park, a little further west, since the Center Block is undergoing major restoration work.

The big Canada Day show started at 8 p.m. Artists Charlotte Cardin, Ariane Moffatt, Sarahmée, Salebarbes, Sebastian Gaskin and Cindy Bédard, among others, have walked the boards.

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The Acadian group Salebarbes.

The traditional fireworks display closed the festivities around 10 p.m.

A new round of protests against COVID-19 pandemic restrictions took place in downtown Ottawa.

Participants marched from the Supreme Court of Canada building at Ottawa City Hall in the afternoon.

During a protest at the National War Memorial on Thursday night, police arrested four people for incidents including assaults on police officers.

< p class="e-p">The presence of demonstrators and the deployment of an imposing security device cast a shadow over the festivities at the start of the day, confirm certain traders and passers-by interviewed by Radio-Canada. However, they all agree that the day went by calmly and cheerfully.

Ottawa Police Service officers are ready to respond if needed.

We were worried too, but in the end it's a beautiful day, people are respectful and we're having a good time, said an immigrant woman living in Ottawa with her family. It's a good day for us as immigrants too, to be able to feel appreciated and to give back to the country.

It's unique as an atmosphere , there is a lot of cheerfulness in the air. It's heart warming to be able to celebrate and it feels very safe, said another passerby.

Dominique Labelle, general manager of the Chateau Lafayette bar in the ByWard Market, said she felt a little nervous this morning preparing for her day at work, not sure what to expect.

At the start of the day, there was an atmosphere of hesitation. But people have adapted as the day progressed and everyone is in good spirits now, she exclaimed.

Dali Maalouf, an employee of Aux Délices Bakery, also admitted to feeling “anxious” at the start of the day. However, she noted that the situation seemed under control and she was happy to see people enjoying Canada Day safely.

Canada Day was celebrated in style for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Report by Valérie Gamache

In Nova Scotia, 49 people gathered in Halifax have the opportunity to celebrate their first Canada Day as citizens, since the Minister of 'Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, takes part in a citizenship ceremony.

In Nova Scotia's capital, the national holiday was named KANA'TA this year to honor the traditions of the Mi'kmaq Nation.

In Moncton, a show featuring several artists including the Acadian group 1755 ended with a performance by the master of Canadian blues, Colin James.

In Toronto, a fireworks show was postponed while another had to be cancelled. The company David Whysall International Fireworks, which was responsible for the fireworks at Ashbridges Bay, Stan Wadlow Park and Milliken Park, informed the Queen City that it could not fulfill its mandate. The City was able to find a new company for the Friday night show at Ashbridges Bay and a second, Saturday, at Stan Wadlow Park.

In Montreal, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP fired a gun salute to celebrate July 1st. In the evening, a show featuring Mateo, Samian, Naomi, Annie Villeneuve, Marc Dupré and Joseph Edgar was held in the Old Port.

With information from La Presse canadienne

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