Canada celebrates 143rd birthday with Queen Elizabeth

10:51, July 02, 2010      

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Some 100,000 Canadians gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday to celebrate Canada's 143rd birthday with the presence of their monarch Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen, 84, accompanied by her husband Prince Philip, 89, told the cheering crowd that she has witnessed more than half of Canada's national history and praised what Canada stands for.

"This nation has dedicated itself to being a caring home for its own, a sanctuary for others and an example to the world," she said.

The Queen also praised the commitment of the Canadian Forces, and said Canada has reason for optimism, even in trying times.

With her personal Canadian flag flying from the Peace Tower, the Queen was honoured with a flypast by CF-18 jetfighters and another by the aerobatic Snowbirds, as well as a march-past by the Guard of Honour.

In his speech, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that the year of 2010 has been a great year for Canada.

"At Vancouver's Olympics and Paralympics, our fantastic athletes set a record for the most gold medals any nation ever won at a Winter Games," he said.

Harper stressed Canada's leadership as it has hosted the Summits of the G8 and G20 and as its economy begins to emerge from the global recession.

He repeated the welcome again to the Queen: "on behalf of all Canadians, welcome back to your home away from home!"

On Canada's heritage, Harper said the aboriginal peoples, the French pioneers, and the British adventurers and loyalist all played special and important roles.

"We have a noble heritage. The richness of the land first inhabited and fully appreciated by our aboriginal peoples."

"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."

Canada Day, a federal holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act which united two British colonies and a province of the British Empire into a single country called Canada, is also celebrated abroad with Canada's Governor General Michaelle Jean greeting visitors during a ceremony at the Shanghai World Expo site on Canada Day, and Canadian troops in Afghanistan munching on hamburgers and hotdogs.

Queen Elizabeth and her husband arrived on Monday afternoon in Halifax, the first stop on her 22nd tour of Canada.

The royal couple will also visit Winnipeg, Waterloo and Toronto before concluding their nine-day tour.

Source: Xinhua


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