Canada turns 140

Thousands of Canadians gathered in the nation's capital and other cities to mark Canada's 140th birthday, celebrating with citizenship ceremonies, parades, music and fireworks.

Thousands of Canadians gatheredon Parliament Hill to celebrate Canada's 140th birthday, in abash featuring music, a flypast by the Snowbirds, the RCMP Musical Ride and fireworks.

Among those in attendance were Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who said in a video greetingthat Canadians have much to celebrate.

Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean, accompanied by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, greets people in the crowd on Parliament Hill. ((CBC))

"From championships in hockey to humanitarian and military leadership roles in Afghanistan and Haiti, we can say again this year, Canada is a citizen of the world and we make our contribution a positive one," he said.

Harper said Canada's North is what defines Canada more than just about anything else and that Arctic regions symbolize a great untapped promise.

"I believe that whether our ancestors came from the East, the West, or the South, as Canadians we always look to the North for the true definition of our country."

He mentioned his visit over the past year to meet withpeople inAlert on Ellesmere Island, including members of the Canadian Forces.

"As I looked at the vast gleaming expanse of the Arctic I could not help but think it is as limitless as the potential of Canada itself," he said.

Thousands attended the largest party in the country in Ottawa. ((CBC))

Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean swore in 49 new Canadians at a citizenship ceremony before she arrived for the celebrations in Ottawa, which includeda 21-gun salute at noon.

Another citizenship ceremony was held at the Ontario legislature in Toronto, which was followed by a 21-gun salute and live music outside.

In Winnipeg, officials closed parts of Osborne Street, known as The Village, for a big community celebration. There were also parties scheduled at The Forks and Assiniboine Park.

Both B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and the Governor Generalmade Canada Day statements askingCanadians to remember the sacrifices made by the country's troops serving in places as far away as Afghanistan.

Jean said Canadians cannot take their freedom for granted and "it is our responsibility to spread this freedom all around us and around the world."

Campbellmarked the day by welcoming80 new Canadians, who took their citizenship oathat Vancouver's Convention Place.

In St. John's, Premier Danny Williams reflected on the anniversary of the First World War Battle of Beaumont Hamel.

During a wreath-laying ceremony, the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador announced plans to unveil plaques next July 1 commemorating the hundreds of Newfoundland men killed.

"We must always appreciate that they paid for our freedom with their lives," Williams said in a statement. "In a small and symbolic way, we will finally bring these soldiers home."

In Halifax, hundreds gathered under sunny skies at the historic Citadel site to eat birthday cake and watch a foot-and-arms drill by the 78th Highlanders.

At Kandahar airfield, Canadian soldiersenjoyed maple doughnuts and coffee. Some took part in activities including volleyball, tug of war and a scavenger hunt.

Many of the soldiersalso began the countdown for their homecoming. In a month, their185-day deployment will end and they'll be replaced by members of theRoyal 22nd Regiment, Quebec's legendary Van Doos.

Survey looks at flag ownership

An Ipsos Reid survey commissioned by the Dominion Institute to mark Canada Day found that a smallmajority of Canadiansexpress their patriotism by displaying their country'sflag.

The survey found57 per centmaintain that someone in their household owns a Canadian flag.Ofthose who do have a flag, 51 per cent said they fly it in their yard or display it in a window.

Among older Canadians, aged 55 and up, 63 per cent said someone in their household owns a Canadian flag. In comparison, 50 per cent of younger Canadians, aged 18 to 34, said someone in their household owns a flag.

The survey was conducted from June 14 to 17. A randomly selected sample of 3,164 adults was interviewed online.

The results are considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

With files from the Canadian Press