SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — Thousands of people covered Parliament Hill in red and white for the celebration of Canada’s 145th birthday.
Mounties on horse back and in red serge escorted Governor General David Johnston and his wife Sharon as they rode an open horse-drawn carriage onto the Hill.
Johnston inspected an honour guard and received a 21-gun salute, and there were flypasts by two CF-18 fighter jets and the Snowbirds aerobatic team before the festivities started.
Johnston and Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the crowd that Canadians have much for which to be proud and thankful.
“Proud of a strong and growing economy, proud of a caring and compassionate society, proud and ready to cheer on the young men and women who are headed to London, our Olympic and Paralympic athletes,” Harper said.
Both men also touched on the War of 1812, which is a major theme of this year’s Canada Day celebrations.
The prime minister called it the struggle that made Canada possible as people of all backgrounds joined in the fight for Canada.
“In fighting together out ancestors in 1812 laid the basis for a common sense of Canadian nationality based on diversity and they laid the basis for the vision of freedom, democracy and justice that is our inheritance — Canada the best country in the world,” Harper said.
Johnston praised Canadians as hard workers, for their families, communities and country.
“Having travelled across this country and visited thousands of Canadians in their communities, I know how hard you work,” he said.
“I also know that regardless of age or affiliation, all Canadians want to create a better future for this country.”
A crowd numbering in the thousands — many with portable chairs — started arriving early in the day and was greeted by sunny, warm skies and soon began overflowing onto the street.
The program is a nod to both the present and the past. Performers include indie rock star Feist and French crooner Roch Voisine.
But the show will also feature actors playing key figures from the War of 1812.
The Grey Cup will also be given VIP status as the football tournament celebrates its 100th birthday this year. — www.shafaqna.com/english/