01 July 2017

Canada 150: Huge crowds set to celebrate nation’s anniversary

Police patrol parliament hill in Ottawa, Canada, ahead of Canada Day celebrationsImage copyright
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Security has been boosted in Ottawa following terror attacks in Europe

Celebrations are taking place across Canada as the country marks the 150th anniversary of its confederation.

The main events are taking place in the capital Ottawa, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend and a huge security operation in place.

They will be addressed by PM Justin Trudeau, as well as Prince Charles, whose mother, the Queen, is Canada’s head of state.

But some indigenous groups complain their treatment has been overlooked.

A teepee has been set up on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to protest against events, in what organisers called a “reoccupation”.

After visiting on Friday, Mr Trudeau said he understood why not everyone would be celebrating Canada Day, admitting there was “work to do” on reconciliation.

The prime minister now seems to be looking forward to the events themselves.

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The celebrations include a concert of Canadian songs, a display from Canada’s aerobatics squadron the Snowbirds, a citizenship ceremony for new Canadians, and what is billed as the largest fireworks display in the country’s history.

Canadian theatre giants Cirque du Soleil are performing, as are international acts including U2.

The government is estimated to have spent half a billion Canadian dollars ($386m; £296m) on the festivities.

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Protesters have erected a teepee outside Canada’s parliament

Businesses have been trying to capitalise. KFC has temporarily rebranded itself “K’ehFC”, in reference to the Canadian slang, while coffee shop Tim Hortons is selling a poutine donut – although only at selected US outlets.

Canada Day, held on 1 July each year, marks the merging of three former British colonies into a single new country. It is a national holiday.

The country grew in size and autonomy in the years that followed, but achieved full independence from the UK in only 1982, when the British parliament handed the power to amend the Canadian constitution to Canada.

More on Canada at 150

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Media captionHighclere Castle – which is Downton Abbey – played a key part in the formation of Canada

Why the world suddenly loves Canada

What does it mean to be Canadian today?

What’s in store for Canada’s next 150 years?

As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, BBC World News will explore this vast country throughout July – from discovering some of the most remote places in Canada on The Travel Show to documentary-style programming in Canada Stories.

To mark this occasion, we are offering Canadian audiences the chance to watch BBC World News as a free channel preview. More details here.

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