On rainy 150th birthday, nation celebrates the meaning of Canada

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People gather in the rain to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on July 1. Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla are visiting to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s founding. (Inset): Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the crowd as people celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. (AFP)

Canada’s long-anticipated 150th birthday celebrations on Saturday were marked by heavy rains and some protests, though the downpour failed to dampen spirits of revelers who thronged in large numbers to enjoy musical performances and parades. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kicked off celebrations amid heavy security and some 25,000 people assembled at a large outdoor celebration in front of the national Parliament in Ottawa, where Irish singer Bono and other members of rock band U2 enthralled the audience. “When others build walls, you open doors; when others divide, your arms are open wide; where you lead, others follow,” Bono said. But the bad weather meant a fly-past featuring Canadian warplanes was canceled and later on, an evening concert was delayed by an hour to allow the rain storms to pass.

The long-anticipated Canada Day festivities, which included other features such as acrobats, and special citizenship ceremonies across large cities, concluded with fireworks. Trudeau, accompanied by Britain’s Prince Charles, shook hands with some of the thousands of revelers who converged on Canada’s capital Ottawa. “Canada is a country made strong not in spite of our differences but because of them,” Trudeau told the gathering. “We don’t aspire to be a melting pot — indeed, we know true strength and resilience flows through Canadian diversity.” (RTRS)

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