Canada Day 2014: July 1 celebrated across the country
P.E.I. holds biggest fireworks during nation's 147th birthday celebrations
Huge fireworks displays in Charlottetown, Ottawa and Halifax closed out Canada Day celebrations that saw Canadians across the country take the day to enjoy their home and native land.
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In the nation’s capital, a brief downpour didn’t stop revellers from watching fireworks explode over the Ottawa River near Parliament Hill.
But Ottawa’s fireworks weren’t the biggest in Canada this year, as Charlottetown put on a fantastic 12-minute show, with an estimated 10,000 fireworks bursting in the night sky. You can see video of the fireworks above.
Earlier in the day, thousands of flag-waving revellers clad in red and white descended upon Parliament Hill to take part in the patriotic party. Prime Minister Stephen Harper also made an appearance and gave a Canada Day speech.
"I think the country's best days are ahead of it," Harper told CBC's Rosemary Barton after greeting a number of people attending the Parliament Hill events. "I think we look around, it's a troubled world, and I hope Canada will continue to be looked at in the future as a model.”
The celebrations also included an appearance by Clara Hughes, the beloved Olympic medallist in cycling and speedskating, who has been cycling across Canada to raise awareness of mental health.
A presentation by the Canadian Armed Forces of photos from the last 100 days of the mission in Afghanistan, the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the Second World War were also highlighted at the Ottawa event.
Gov. Gen. David Johnston delivered a Canada Day message in which he stressed that Canada will have an even bigger birthday to celebrate in a mere three years, when it turns 150.
"Now is the time to decide who we want to be on that auspicious day," Johnston said. "Will we be a compassionate nation? Will we look beyond our borders to create a better world? Will our country set the global bar for kindness and caring, or will the bar be set for us?"
Floods didn't dampen Prairie celebrations
Despite the torrential rain that has flooded dozens of communities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the provincial capitals in those regions still managed to hold most of their Canada Day events. Rain didn't stop 2,500 people from forming a massive human Canadian flag in downtown Winnipeg, where people gathered at The Forks historic site to stand shoulder to shoulder wearing red and white shirts.
In Toronto, celebrations culminated in a fireworks show at Mel Lastman Square that was created by Circus Orange and choreographed to Canadian music.
Rob Ford, the city's controversial mayor, was jeered and cheered as he joined a parade in Toronto's East York district.
Montreal celebrated Canada Day with a parade of revellers, as well as a parade of moving trucks. Each year, hundreds of city residents are moving as July 1 is typically the day most leases in Quebec begin and end.
Maritimes get musical
P.E.I.'s celebrations also featured performances by Juno Award-winners Tegan and Sara, Classified and the Barenaked Ladies.
Musical acts were also a key part of Canada Day celebrations in Halifax, where Alderney Landing, on the eastern shore of Halifax Harbour, hosted its annual free concert, which this year included the Sam Roberts Band.
In Newfoundland, Canada Day marked the end of a 900-kilometre fundraising run by a team of 16 sailors from HMCS St. John's who crossed the island via the Trans-Canada Highway. The team's emotional finish in St. John's was just one of several Canada Day celebrations taking place in the city. There was also an annual ceremony at the downtown war memorial.
Well wishes from abroad
Canada's birthday wasn't just celebrated at home this year. In Rio de Janeiro, the city's iconic Christ the Redeemer statue was lit up red and white amid an eerie fog that settled on the city Tuesday night.
And our neighbours and allies to the south also paid tribute by illuminating New York City's Empire State building red and white.
With files from The Canadian Press