Canada Day symbolizes complexities of Canada (2)

21:36, July 02, 2010      

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The Canadian government encourages every community in the country to throw a Canada Day party and pays much of the cost of the celebrations. The Ottawa celebration is designed by the federal government to showcase singing and dancing talent from a wide range of Canada's regions and ethnic groups.

The first music act was a group of French-Canadian rap artists. There were also Native (Indian) dancers, balladeers and the popular Canadian rock music group The Barenaked Ladies.

The Queen and the Canada Day party drew a multi-racial crowd of people speaking dozens of different languages to downtown Ottawa.

In Quebec, however, many people celebrate their French heritage on June 24 in a "Fete Nationale" (National Holiday) organized by the province's government.

While Canada Day gets short shrift in Quebec, it is popular among Canadians oversees. Governor-General Michaelle Jean, who officially represents the Queen when the monarch is not in Canada, celebrated Canada Day at the Canadian pavilion at the Shanghai world's fair. Jean is on a week-long visit to China with a delegation of cultural leaders.

There are also big Canada Day parties in New York City and Los Angeles, cities with large communities of Canadian expatriates. About 50,000 revelers partied in London's Trafalgar Square.

But the big party was in Ottawa, where thousands cheered the Queen, who has reigned through the entire lives of most Canadians. Stephen Harper, Canadian prime minister, could be seen singing God Save the Queen, which was sung every morning along with the Canadian national anthem by all Canadian school children until about 30 years ago.

Harper told the crowd to be "proud of our history and our heritage."

"We have a noble heritage. The richness of the land first inhabited and fully appreciated by our aboriginal peoples," he said. "The steadfast determination and continental ambition of our French pioneers, who were the first to call themselves 'Canadians.'"

"The courage and vision of the British adventurers and loyalists, who brought with them our institutions and our freedoms under the Crown. And, of course, the faith of every immigrant man and woman, from every corner of the globe, who, with the world to choose from, has declared, 'I will be a Canadian.'"

"They have made us all the true north, strong and free!" a cheerful Harper said.

Source: Xinhua

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