Get your bow ties: No shortage of Canada 150 gear to celebrate big day

Just over two weeks until Canada celebrates its 150th birthday.

Everything to buy from shirts to aprons, to water bottles

Through his interpreter, Ahmed Hallaq says he made the aprons and bow ties to celebrate Canada. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Need to tell someone how old your country is while starting your car? There's a keychain that will do just that.

It's just over two weeks away from Canada's big birthday bash, but there's enough red and white along the aisles of stores to look like the country sneezed on them. But along with the merchandise, you'll also find plenty of Canada 150 branding.

Dollar stores are often the best bet for cheap decorations and this year is no different. Among napkins, ribbons, and other party treats are trinkets with the '150' logo.

If a decorative spoon isn't how you wish to mark your country's Confederation, there are several alternatives.

Barbour's General Store at the bottom of Saint John's King Street is a usual haven of New Brunswick clothing. Working behind its tourism desk, Laura Boulding said they just got a shipment of 150 items in this week.

Sales set to pick up

"We've had quite a few locals already coming in and interested in the shirts," Boulding said, adding that it will likely pick up in the coming days.

Canada 150 water bottles and T-shirts are easy to find in Saint John. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

Along with hoodies sweatshirts and other clothing, Barbour's is also selling Canada 150 water bottles and pins.

"I was thrilled when I first saw it, it's great," she said.

While some pieces keep up with the pace of the 150 brand machine, others look like they're just playing the part. A postcard featuring a view of the Saint John harbour has a simple 'Canada 150' logo in its top right corner, looking like it may just be keeping up with the trend.

Knitting to celebrate

But not everything on display is for sale. Cindy Alcorn and her two co-workers were hard at work knitting for two weeks to make a banner for Cricket Cove Yarn Shop.

"We all worked on knitting the red flags and then I duplicate stitched the Canada 150 on them," Alcorn said.

Staff at the Cricket Cove Yarn Shop in Saint John knit patriotic flags. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

Sure enough, 10 red triangles proudly show off the store's patriotic flair. A lot of work for one day, but Alcorn said she's planning on modifying it to use later. 

Alcorn's had fun getting into the spirit of Canada Day, but she said she's raised some concern over part of her display. Sitting below the knitted flags, is a commemorative drinking glass from the 1967 Centennial which many are worried will fall and break.

Cindy Alcorn holds a Canada Centennial glass from 1967. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

Alcorn isn't too worried as she picked it up to inspect.

"It was 1967. I would have only been three-years-old," she said. "The same year I learned how to knit."

The glass itself, could be proof that a Canada 150 water bottle may not get lost in the clutter after all.

Patriotic aprons and bow ties

While all the fuss over the number attached to Canada's Confederation may be all the rage, in Fredericton you just can't top a classic.

There is no lack of Canada 150 souvenirs available to purchase to celebrate the big day. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

Syrian refugee and tailor shop owner, Ahmed Hallaq, is spending his second Canada Day in the province's capital this year. And Hallaq is making sure no backyard barbecue is unpatriotic, making handmade aprons and bow ties.

"We do it for Canadian people and we don't want money from them," Hallaq said through an interpreter.

But just like the giant 150 balloons and maple leaf parasols next to them, Hallaq's aprons are up for sale at Fredericton's Scoop and Save.  

About the Author

Matthew Bingley


Matthew Bingley is a CBC reporter based in Saint John.