Sunday, July 2, 2006

Canada Day was celebrated at Parliament Hill. People came across Canada to Ottawa to celebrate Canada’s 139th birthday.

About 25,000 people including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, his wife and their two children were there. The party got started at about 12:00, noon ET. The ceremony was in English and in French.

Military veterans, medal-winning Olympic athletes and some of Canada’s biggest names in music were there. Canadian artists like Colin James and Annie Villeneuve performed in front of the Peace Tower. Other performers included Jesse Cook and the Samba Squad. Since Canada has two official languages (English and French) some artists were from Quebec and sung in French.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper urged Canadians to pay tribute to the soldiers and aid workers in Afghanistan. “Let’s show our appreciation, today and every day, to those who do it best for us in Afghanistan and around the world,” Harper said. “Our diplomats, our development workers and brave men and women of the Canadian Forces.” said the Prime Minister.

Gov. General. Michaëlle Jean noted Canada’s prosperity, including in her remarks a thank you to the people who toil to provide the country with a safe and plentiful food supply.

“Ours is a country of great wealth from its plains, forests and mountains that nourish us to the crystal clear waters of our abundant lakes and rivers,” she said. She was born in Port-au-Prince, Haïti and is the current Governor General of Canada. Harper and Jean took part in a wreath laying at the National War Memorial at an event marking the 90th anniversary of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel in France.

Bill Graham released a statement describing Canada as being like no other country, “made up of individuals, representing all ethnicities and all religions, bound together by our shared values of family, community, tolerance and freedom.”

Musicians performed in front of the Peace Tower, and fireworks ended the show.