Canada is turning 145 this year, but it doesn’t look a day older than 144. Toast our home and native land at one of the following fabulous, family-friendly national birthday parties happening across the country.
The annual Canada Day celebration in Surrey is known as Western Canada’s most extravagant in, and this year’s event roster promises not to disappoint. Can-pop mainstay Sam Roberts and up-and-coming songstress Hannah Georgas headline the musical entertainment. Pint-sized partygoers can enjoy carnival rides, crafts, and storytellers.
Prince’s Island Park becomes a musical playground for the day, showcasing everything from rock to reggae. Kids are treated to theatre, tunes and clown stunts on the Family Stage. Adventurous types can set off on an interactive scavenger hunt using their smart phones.
What better way to celebrate the strength of our nation than to celebrate the strength of our nation’s athletes? Regina observes the day with Western Canada’s Annual Strongman competition, in which provincial champions boost vehicles sky-high. Little ones might be slightly more impressed by the cuddly, larger-than-life mascots that will be available for photo ops.
Clowning and crafting and busking, oh my! The Forks fills up with all manner of entertainment to fête Canada’s special day, and wraps up with the traditional pyrotechnic bang.
Canadian culture is often described as a mosaic of various cultures, and Toronto’s July 1 festivity aims to celebrate as many of them as possible. Contemporary Ethiopian dance, Brazilian martial arts, and Mexican folk music are all on the marquee.
Our nation’s capital is pulling out all the stops to honour the bicentennial of the War of 1812. A group of re-enactors is staging a commemorative drum show, to be followed by an Afro-Caribbean dance tribute to the war’s all-black militia. National music treasures like Feist, Simple Plan and Jully Black will be gracing the stage in the early afternoon and evening.
The annual Old Port party boasts a trifecta of kid favourites: bouncy castles, face painting, and a giant birthday cake. Need we say more?
Fredericton, New Brunswick
Maritime-bred rocker Joel Plaskett capstones a full day of concerts at Fredericton’s Canada Day Block Party, appearing just before the spectacular riverfront fireworks.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
A free pancake breakfast at Alderney Landing starts the day off right, and there’s no slowing down from there. Obstacle courses, laser tag and a dog show are just a few of the kid-friendly activities on the agenda.
Chill out this Canada Day with a little morning yoga on the boardwalk, led by instructors floating on a paddleboard in the water. It’ll help you gear up for the afternoon’s wagon rides, balloon animal-making, and petting zoo.
St. John’s, Newfoundland
Be the first to greet Canada’s 145th birthday, at Signal Hill’s yearly Sunrise Ceremony. You can watch the dazzling sun come up over the water while enjoying birthday cake and milk (the breakfast of champions).
Cool temperatures may not make it feel like July 1 in the Yukon’s capital, but Canada Day celebrations will be in full swing. Face-painting, live music and a patriotic parade will take over Shipyards Park.
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Multiplex-Ed Jeske Arena will be vibrating with the energy of local bands playing, Zumba classes salsa-ing, and kids ooh-ing and aah-ing over the dog show.
Fuel up at a pancake breakfast before hitting the flea market, then stash your purchases before heading to watch the annual Canada Day parade.
Allison Friedman has written about celebrities, fashion, and Canadian culture for publications like Flare and Toronto Life. She lives in Toronto, where she works at a children’s bookstore, sees too many movies, and makes half-hearted attempts at jogging.