It’s a big year for our neighbors to the north. 2017 marks 150 years (or the sesquicentennial—say that five times fast) since the four original provinces of Canada united in Confederation, and Canadians are excited about their big 150th anniversary.
Need a little Canadian history lesson? In July 1867, the British North America Act unified Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into one country under English rule. Today, there are 10 provinces and three territories in Canada; the territory of Nunavut is the most recent member, joining after separating from the Northwest Territories in 1999. Technically, Canada is a federation, and not a confederation, meaning that a centralized power governs the whole country. That job goes to current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II was still calling some of the shots until as late as 1982, when the Westminster Act finally ended the need for British Parliament to make constitutional amendments. Long story short: Canada has lots of birthdays, but 1867 is the year to remember.
Celebrations kicked off on December 31, 2016, when Canadians from coast to coast rang in the new year. But, the party’s not over yet. The year-long festivities include the creation of a national playlist, free entrance to the national parks, a traveling interactive media exhibit, and tons of cultural events happening in cities across Canada. The Go Ahead Toronto Team can look forward to a four-day long bash to ring in Canada Day on July 1st, as well as plenty of music, art, and food-related events throughout 2017.
The country’s big birthday is just one reason Canada is topping must-see travel lists everywhere. But, if you can’t travel to wish the nation a happy 150th in person, here are a few ways to celebrate your own sesquicentennial (still hard to say) at home:
Reading Alice Munro
In 2013, Alice Munro became the first short story writer to win a Nobel Prize, and the first Canadian woman to receive the honor. It’s hard to pick a favorite book out of her many collections, but The Moons of Jupiter is a good place to start.
Forget the ketchup. Gravy and cheese curds are the French fry toppings that really take the cake. Poutine is a Québécois specialty, and while its exact origins are hotly debated, there’s one thing we can all agree on: it’s delicious.
Listening to Celine Dion
Or Leonard Cohen. Or Alanis Morrisette. Or Neil Young. Or… the list goes on. Tons of famous musicians (even a few you probably never knew were Canadian) hail from the Great White North.
Watching Anne of Green Gables
Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel has a few big- and small-screen adaptations, most notably the Emmy-winning miniseries from 1985. This year, Netflix is rehashing the famous Canadian tale (which is inspired by the landscapes of Prince Edward Island), with eight episodes that you can stream at home—or catch when they air live on the CBC.
Plus, you can see how Canadians are celebrating online by following the hashtag #Canada150 on social media.
Is Canada on your travel wish list this year? Have your own milestone you’d like to celebrate on tour? Tell us about it in the comments!