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Canada Turns 150: What Makes My Country So Great?

2nd June 2017 Posted by: Kate Istead

THIS year is Canada’s 150th anniversary. On July 1, 1867 the British colonies of the United Provinces of Canada (now Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick unified and became the Dominion of Canada. One hundred and fifty year later and the country is now made up of 13 provinces, territories and more than 36 million people from countries all over the world. For our country’s birthday, Canadian organisations and the government are investing a lot of time and money into supporting initiatives that showcase the Canadian spirit.

Here are just a few examples of what my amazing country is doing to celebrate:

Canada in a Day

CTV, one of the country’s leading broadcasters, asked Canadians to film and submit videos that reflected their thoughts, hopes, and lives as Canadians. They received over 11,500 videos from Canadians all over the world, showing the modern face of Canada. While the final video is being revealed this summer, the diversity of our beautiful nation is surely to be on display in this time capsule that will transcend generations.  

Canada 150 for 150 Volunteer Challenge

Led by Volunteer Ottawa, Canada 150 for 150 Volunteer Challenge hopes to engage thousands in making a difference in the lives of other Canadians by donating 150 hours of volunteer time in 2017. Those who contribute the most hours in each province and territory will be recognised in a formal ceremony at our nation’s capital, with special recognition awards for “New Canadian 150 for 150 Volunteer”, “Aboriginal 150 for 150 Volunteer”, “Youth 150 for 150 Volunteer” and “Senior 150 for 150 Volunteer”.

RBC Make 150 Count

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is celebrating Canada’s future generations by giving thousands of young people across the country $150 and asking them to do something great with it. From supporting immigrant families to baking cookies for women’s shelters, Canada’s youth have taken up the challenge. The most meaningful thing about the Make 150 Count campaign was the fact that RBC told the young people they could do anything they wanted with the money – no strings attached – and they chose to make a difference in their communities.

Parks Canada Discovery Pass

Canada’s first national park was created in Banff over 100 years ago, with the goal of eventually establishing a national park system representing each of Canada’s unique ecosystems. With 39 national parks across the country, Parks Canada is 60% of the way to achieving this goal. As a gift to Canadians and visitors alike, they are giving free entry to National Parks, National Marine Conservation Areas and National Historic Sites from “coast-to-coast to coast” for all of 2017.


Did you know that Canadians invented the zipper, peanut butter, superman, basketball and the light bulb? Five of Canada’s leading science organisations have partnered up to sponsor Innovation150, a year-long nation-wide programme designed to celebrate Canada’s innovative past and engage Canadian communities with travelling science exhibitions, innovation festivals, digital tools and contests. 

The Trans Canada Trail

In 1992, a non-profit organisation called The Trans Canada Trail dreamed of connecting the country with the longest recreational trail in the world. Currently 91% complete at 21,500km running through all 13 of Canada’s provinces, the organisation is aiming to fully connect The Great Trail in 2017 for Canada’s 150th celebration. A mix of urban, rural and wilderness landscapes, along greenways, waterways and roadways, The Great Trail embodies the vast diversity and potential of our great country.


A post shared by Trans Canada Trail (@tctrail) on

The Walk for Reconciliation

While Canada as a nation has only been around for 150 years, First Nations have lived on the land for centuries before the Constitution Act. Canada’s 150th Anniversary comes at a time of great momentum towards reconciliation. The National Thought Table and Walk for Reconciliation, held in Vancouver, are efforts to bring Canadians of all heritages together to engage in transformative dialogue and healing.

Canada is a land of much diversity – in its landscapes, its cultures and its people. In a world that seems to be increasingly closing their doors on others, I am proud to be from a Canada that stands for discovery, potential and kindness – and I can’t wait to fly home on July 1st to join the celebrations.  

Find out how to apply for a study visa or work visa in Canada.

Read about the 5 Must-See Films that Explain Canada to International Students


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