North

Canada throws party

It's a day for a party and Canada is the guest of honour. About 75,000 people gathered on Parliament Hill Tuesday under perfect summer skies to celebrate Canada Day and mark the country's 136th birthday.

It's a day for a party and Canada is the guest of honour. About 75,000 people gathered on Parliament Hill Tuesday under perfect summer skies to celebrate Canada Day and mark the country's 136th birthday.

"We have a lot to celebrate," Prime Minister Jean Chrtien told reporters shortly after arriving for the party. "We are a very privileged nation, extremely respected around the world," he said. "We have to be very, very proud to be Canadian."

Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and her husband, John Ralston Saul, arrived in a horse-drawn coach.

The vice-regal couple greeted people in the crowd before inspecting a guard of honour made up of members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

But the focus of the celebration was the entertainment that got under way shortly after noon.

The festivities began with a demonstration by the Snowbird precision flying team, followed by a collection of talent from across the country.

Included in the lineup were Amanda Marshall, Adam Gregory, the Borealis String Quartet, Glenn Lewis and Mix Mania.

Speaking in what was his final Canada Day celebration as prime minister, Chrtien told the crowd it was a day to be proud of the country's accomplishments.

"Today is the one day of the year when we all seem to fully realize and enjoy our nationhood," he said.

In what amounted to a review of some of his accomplishments in office, the prime minister said Canadian values have guided the country toward ratifying the Kyoto Accord and have helped make the country's economy the strongest in the Group of Eight industrialized nations.

"Our values will not mislead us and our hopes and dreams will nourish us," he said.

An evening show was to include some of Canada's favourite performers, including The Guess Who, Quebec's Kevin Parent, and Celtic-folk band Leahy.

now