Ways to Mark Canada Day

Written by Denise Deby.

Ottawa River from Victoria Island D Deby (2)

You already know about the Parliament Hill events, the neighbourhood barbecues, the fireworks. Here are a few other ways to make Canada a more liveable and just place:

1. Learn more about this country of ours by reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. The Commission sets out what happened at residential schools and recommends how non-Indigenous and Indigenous people can renew their relationships based on understanding and respect. Make reading the Executive Summary a Canada Day or summer project; listen to Indigenous people across the country reading excerpts of the report.

2. Chances are there’s a river or lake near your Canada Day celebration, and chances are it’s not protected by law from industrial pollution or other risks. Ask the Canadian government to reinstitute protection of lakes and rivers (in the 2012 “budget bill” they reduced the number of protected lakes and rivers from 2.5 million to just 159). Read about Gwich’in ultramarathoner Caribou Legs’ run from Vancouver to Ottawa calling for protection of water, and sign the Council of Canadians’ petition to the federal government.

3. Youth from the Algonquin community of Kitigan Zibi and from Wakefield and Chelsea are paddling the Gatineau River from Maniwaki to Ottawa together, arriving at Victoria Island on July 1. Learn more about Chimeda, “a journey of unity and love for our waters,” and their efforts to protect the watershed for everyone, here or here. (Also take a few minutes to read about the significance of Chaudière Falls and Chaudière, Victoria and Albert Islands in the Ottawa River.)

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