Canada Day is and always has been an important day for Canadians. Not only because it represents the birth of our nation, an extra day off work, or the fact that more often than not, some cold beverages are enjoyed. But I think what truly makes Canada Day so important, is that it is typically the official kickoff to summer. While I was kicking off the party in Ottawa, participating in the nations largest Canada Day events and enjoying some beers; I know that many people celebrate this holiday in their own fashion. I asked the Canadian Travel Blogger community “What did you do for Canada Day?”
Leigh McAdamHike Bike Travel
Kayaking on Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park. Photo of a fellow camper – quintessential Canada – a canoe, a National Park, a maple leaf on the canoe and a fishing rod.
How to spend Canada Day in Prague: Walk around aimlessly, and then wander into a ridiculous bar named Kavarna Mlynska where an eccentric local artist named David Cerny created the bar-top display, complete with plastic vagina and fingers from the morgue. After getting sufficiently liquored, break out the Canada flags and the flashy headgear, and rent a paddle-boat on the Vltava. When you get harassed by Brits on a stag party, flee to the nearest beer garden and make friends with other Canadians. Sing the Canadian anthem on the riverfront.
Growing up in Toronto watching Buffalo TV, you become kind of enamoured with all things US – Cellino & Barnes Attorneys At Law, Carvel’s Cookie Puss and Fudgie The Whale, Tops Friendly Markets (“Tops Never Stops. Saving You More”) – and one standout for me was Darien Lake, NY - “Darien Lake Fun Countreeeeee!” It’s one of those places that I’ve alwayswanted to visit, and now that I’m a grown up, I can! So we spent Canada Day at an American resort and theme park, which isn’t exactly very patriotic, BUT… I dressed the kids in red, we said “Please” and “Thank You” and “Sorry” (that’s “sore-y” not “saw-ry”) and had a wonderful time. We went on rides, we ate junk food, we watched a fireworks and laser show with a Canadian tribute (almost 60% of Darien Lake’s visitors are Canucks), and we realized how lucky we are to be able to live in Canada, yet enjoy everything the USA has to offer whenever we like. Although I still have not eaten a Cookie Puss…
Our family (minus one daughter who flew to Scotland the night before) drove to Stratford for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s 1st Annual Canada Day Family Weekend. We watched a hilarious performance of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown followed by a family party with face painting, costumes, photos with cast members and pizza. After the party we walked along the river to feed the ducks and swans which 8 year old Emma always insists on doing. It was a low key celebration but it suited our mood this year.
It’s our commitment to creating a cultural mosaic and our acceptance of diversity that has always made me proud to be a Canadian and even when it comes to our nation’s birthday we celebrate in our own unique way. Whether it’s at a loud and raucous party or a simple family picnic, by attending an explosive fireworks display or quietly contemplating what it means to be Canadian, on July 1st we all honour the amazing country that we call home.
We celebrate Canada Day in the same way every year; in the great outdoors, celebrating the great natural beauty of Canada and its provincial parks. Our family loves camping, and every Canada Day long weekend, we visit Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park on the east side of Vancouver Island.
This spectacular park encapsulates everything we love about our province and country; the ocean; its beaches, forests and trees; natural wildlife like deer, seals, owls, eagles and shorebirds; campfire rituals like making smores; and drinking coffee (with a touch of Baileys) on the beach at sunrise. Above all, we are grateful for the opportunity to spend time together as a family, appreciating our natural surroundings, and counting our blessings to be living in such a wonderful, beautiful country.
This pictures is actually from last year’s Canada day, but we’re going to be doing the same thing this year..sitting on that beach at Sand Beach Lodge (www.sandbeachlodge.com) in the French River (just north of the Muskokas), drinking beer and trying to fish. As expats to Canada we like to get out of Toronto and visit nature when we can, there are some awesome places to do that in Ontario and French River is one of our favourites. For us it captures the true spirit of Canada and lets us explore the wilderness and serenity, with the comforts of a cosy cabin to go back to at night.
We haven’t been home together for a Canada Day in three years, but always try to find a way to make it special. This year we were in Ljubljana, Slovenia, which is actually serving to make us quite homesick as it is quite a mountainous country – and we love us some Rocky Mountains! Despite the temperatures raging into the mid-30s, we donned some hand-knit wool toques in the shape of curling rocks and went out for beer to celebrate Canada Day. We got some curious looks from other patrons in the bar, but we didn’t care. If travel has taught us anything, it is how proud we are to be from the coolest country on the planet.
Canada day has always been my favourite holiday.I’ve never spent one outside of Nova Scotia, so this year would be one I wouldn’t forget. I made my way to Banff, Alberta. The small town was packed more than ever. The main festivities were held in Banff Central Park. It was a perfect day with the sun peeking over the mountains. I sat through Cultural Dances, Magic shows, “stupid pet tricks”, and was handed Cowboy hats and cake for the Calgary Stampede Celebration. This lasted the majority of the afternoon, and I soon needed to head for shelter as a ginger can’t handle sun for too long. The night started with a pub crawl that the Hi-Banff Alpine Centre set up. Celebrating our nations birthday with people from all over the world was a pretty awesome experience. They had just as much pride in our country as any Canadian would. We watched the fireworks and headed back to the Dancing Sasquatch to indulge in some fine Canadian beer & that’s how Canada Day should be done.
This year Canada Day fell on the same day as the Pride Festival in Toronto. With over a million people celebrating the parade that day it made Canada Day even more special and sad how this would not be possible in so many other places in the world.
As it turns out, Canada Day was very significant for me! I spent the day with my two-year-old niece, playing in my backyard in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood of Toronto. We played in a kiddie pool, ran through the sprinkler, ate watermelon and then walked to the store for frozen yogurt. We had a wonderful time, and the best part was that it was my first real play date with her; the first time I was alone with her for an entire afternoon. It was a beautiful, hot sunny day and we did a whole bunch of classic Canadian summer stuff. I renamed Canada Day “Penny Day” just for the afternoon … I don’t think Canada will mind, do you?
I was paddle boating with Candice Walsh on the Vlatva River in Prague complete with beer and sparkling wine, we did indeed get our boat hijacked by Brits from Chester. Not only did they rope their boat to ours so we literally couldn’t paddle away from them, they compared me to Pamela Anderson (and this is a compliment?). We later saw some geniuses at the beer garden by the river later on waving our Canadian flag only to realize the flags were ours. This beckoned other Canadians to our table to which we were able to complete my Prague Canada Day checklist item of singing the National Anthem with the Prague Castle in the background. We ended it by waving our flags on the Charles Bridge and watching a very uneventful Euro Cup final match in a bar to escape the rain. I wouldn’t have it any other way (minus the Brits and getting caught in the rain)