Vancouver to host year-long First Nations celebrations for Canada's 150th birthday

Jan 1 2017, 2:44 am

The City of Vancouver has revealed that it will celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation by hosting year-long First Nations-themed programming and festivities, including a major multi-day event in downtown Vancouver leading up to Canada Day.

Dubbed as ‘Canada 150+’ to acknowledge and celebrate Indigenous history prior to European colonization, the programming will carry a theme of ‘Moving Forward’ which aligns with the municipal government’s efforts on being a ‘City of Reconciliation’.

“Here at the City of Vancouver, we are very excited about the year-long activities the City has coordinated to help commemorate Canada’s 150th, and want to encourage you to participate,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson in a statement. “We have programmed a once-in-a-lifetime immersive experience that, at its heart, features the cultural traditions, art, music, and much more of our three host Nations, the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh.”

Drum is Calling Festival will be the flagship event

The most significant event will be the free Drum is Calling Festival, a nine-day celebration taking over 2.7-acre Larwill Park – the city-block sized parking lot next to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre that held Live City celebrations during the 2010 Olympics and the Fan Zone for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. There will be live music, entertainment, and a unique village of life-size aboriginal housing structures.

Two other signature event plans include ‘The Gathering of Canoes’ on July 19 and 22 at Jericho Beach and a Walk For Reconciliation on a yet-to-be determined route and date in September.

The City will provide more details on the events and initiatives early in the New Year. The official announcement for Canada 150+ will take place tonight at the 102.7 The PEAK Main Stage at Concord’s New Year’s Eve Vancouver on Canada Place Way.

Canada 150+ will cost approximately $4.7 million, with $2.313 million provided by the federal government and the municipal government covering the remaining $2.4 million.

3-day Canada 150 festival at Canada Place

However, the largest free festivities in Metro Vancouver that celebrate Canadian multiculturalism and unity will take place separately on the Coal Harbour waterfront.

In late-September, Port Metro Vancouver announced that its 2017 Canada Day at Canada Place festivities will be expanded to a three-day festival that combines elements of traditional Canada Day at Canada Place events – such as concerts, the parade, and fireworks – with added programming to elevate the celebrations for Canada’s 150th birthday.

The Canada Day at Canada Place celebrations are not affiliated with the City of Vancouver’s plans.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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