On July 1, 1867 the British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were united into one Dominion of Canada, culminating a process that began three years earlier. Upon Confederation, the former province of Canada was split into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.It was, in many ways, the birth of modern Canada and our political system.

In 2017, Canada will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation with special events from coast to coast. Niagara is no exception. 

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE

Niagara-on-the-Lake began its Canada Day festivities early. Last fall, 1200 students from the public schools in town were dressed in red and white and arranged on the hillside of Fort George to create a vivid living flag. The community also kicked in the anniversary year with the first-ever New Year’s party on Queen’s Street.

Naturally, however, the best is yet to come.

“Thanks in part to a $400,000 grant from Ontario 150, we will be holding five big events—as well as a number of smaller ones—in Niagara-on-the-Lake this year,” enthuses Bill French, Communications Committee Chair for NotL Canada 150 Committee.

The Canada Day Celebration gets an early start in June 30, with family-friendly entertainment, including re- works, at Virgil Sports Park.

July 1 is, in the words of French, “a huge day here in NOTL.” Wake early to fill your belly at the Rotary Pancake Breakfast in Simcoe Park, then watch as the 41st Regiment Fife and Drum Corps leads a giant birthday cake down Queen Street to the park. Head over to War of 1812-era Fort George National Historic Site, open 8am-10pm and free all day, to continue the party. Listen to period music, tour the heritage site, and watch musketry and cannon demonstrations. “The day concludes with a concert and reworks display within the Fort, expected to see 30,000 people,” explains French.

The celebration continues July 3 with a family-themed event at Simcoe Park with music and activities directed towards little ones.

That same day, a fleet of impressive tall-rigged sailing vessels arrive in Niagara-on-the-Lake as part of the Tall Ships Rendezvous. The vessels are open to the public on July 4 and 5, before raising sail once again and departing on the 6th.

“In addition to being Canada’s 150th, this year marks the 225th anniversary of Ontario’s first Parliament, held here in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It’s an important event in its own right,” says French. “To commemorate, we’ll hold a celebration in Fort George on September 17.”

Finally, throughout the year, NotL will host the Confederation Celebration, a 1-hour travelling show that visits 20 venues May through to September. On a mobile stage, local actors and musicians depict a series of scenes relating significant events in Niagara-on-the-Lake’s long and rich history up to Confederation, culminating in a reworks display. Fun and educational, Confederation Canada promises to be a hit.

For more information and a complete listing of events go to notlcanada150.ca

NIAGARA FALLS

The City of Niagara Falls knows how to make a spectacle. Perhaps the majesty of the roaring Falls has forced the community to develop a sense of showmanship in order to draw some attention away from the Falls and onto the appeal of the City itself. Little wonder then that the City of Niagara Falls, in partnership with the Downtown BIA, should be hosting a truly spectacular Canada 150 Celebration from June 30 to July 2. While all details and participating events have not yet been finalized, what has emerged thus far promises a long week- end of excitement with something for everyone.

On July 1, Niagara Falls hosts its annual Niagara Day parade along Victoria and Queen Street, starting at 11am. After this, Queen Street closes from 1-4 for a Street Party that will includes free birthday cake at City Hall, free inflatables for children to squeal upon as they climb and bounce and tumble the afternoon away, children’s entertainment, dozens of buskers and food vendors, musicians, a car show, an art show, and more. It’s a party, and you’re invited! From 4-9pm, there will be free live entertainment by a number of talented musicians on the Main Stage at City Hall.

Also on July 1 will be the Carmel Fine Art and Music Festival. As part of this celebration, the Canada Day Queen Street Art Show will run from 9am to 5pm, with over 100 of Southern Ontario’s nest artists representing a variety of mediums. From 1-5pm, enjoy local musicians in a number of musical styles, ranging from soul to jazz to folk.

For more information on the Carmel Fine Art and Music Festival, visit carmelfineart.niagaraartsshowcase.comMore events for the City of Niagara Falls’ Canada 150 Celebration are currently being finalised. To keep abreast of them and ensure you don’t miss the fun, go to niagarafalls.ca

FORT ERIE

Like most every community across the nation, Fort Erie will host joyful Canada Day celebrations this July 1. But Fort Erie’s event has something few others will boast, something that marks this community’s Canada Day celebrations as something truly special.

The Town of Fort Erie received a grant from the Niagara Community Foundation to participate in the Canada 150 Mosaic project, a nationwide initiative that will create 150 murals in 150 communities by July 2017.

Every participating community was asked to provide one object that famously represented their town, which would be the subject of their given mural. Perhaps naturally, Fort Erie selected the War of 1812-era Old Fort, after which the community is named and which played such a central role in the defining war against the United States. Fort Erie’s mural will be based on a design by artist, Lewis Lavoie.

Within the larger mural of the Old Fort will be 400 4 x 4 inch panels on which participants will create a painting that represents their community from their own creative perspective. When placed together, they will become a piece of a much bigger story, that of the Old Fort.

The mural will be unveiled closer to July 1st in the Leisureplex, and will also be linked virtually with all other murals across the Country. Visit canada150mosaic.com to learn more.

ST. CATHARINES

The beautiful garden city also has several events going on in celebration of the big 150. Some highlights include an exhibit at the St. Catharines Museum celebrating 150 years of the St. Catharines Museum, which is running until December 2017. On Friday, September 8th, the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre will host Canada 150-Celebration of Nations, a three day Indigenous arts festival. Get your tickets at firstontariopac.ca

For More Information

COUNTRY-WIDE ACTIVITIES!

Celebrate with the rest of the nation by taking part in one of the many country-wide programs currently on the go.

ON THIS DAY

For a daily infusion of Canadian history check out #OnThisDay. A very cool resource from Library and Archives Canada that lets you know what happened in history on this day in Canada. Download the Passport 2017 app to see everything that’s going on throughout the country.

PARTICIPATION 150

This is a list of 150 activities that make us quintessentially Canadian. Sign up, log your activities, and see how many you can complete in 2017. More info at participaction.com