CityMash.com - With the passing of the new year, Canada has officially begun celebrating 150 years since confederation. In Vancouver, the event has taken on a deeper meaning, as the city has dubbed the year-long celebrations “Canada 150+.”
The plus sign has been added in recognition that while the country may have been born in 1867, the history of Indigenous cultures across Canada predate colonization by millennia.
“Here in the city of Vancouver, a city of reconciliation, we’re calling it Canada 150+. That’s because we know that people have lived here for millennia, long before confederation,” said Vancouver Deputy Mayor Heather Deal, as quoted by CBC.
Vancouver has chosen to highlight Indigenous peoples through it’s Canada 150+ celebrations, using the opportunity to “engage in vibrant, interactive programming of traditional and contemporary Indigenous performance, arts and crafts, culture, fashion, feasts, music, and multi-media,” according to the city’s website.
“Together, we will reflect on our shared history and inspire all Canadians to re-imagine Canada’s next 150 years,” the website added.
Vancouver reportedly allocated nearly $8 million (with some $3.5 million coming from the federal government) for it’s Canada 150+ party, which includes events throughout the year. Highlighting the celebrations will be the 10-day Drum is Calling festival in downtown Vancovuer in July. The Drum is Calling festival is expected to draw more than 125,000 attendees.
The city will also welcome a Gathering of Canoes in July, as well as a Walk for Reconciliation in September.
— Canada 150 (@canada150th) January 1, 2017
Meanwhile, celebrations have begun in British Columbia’s capital city as well.
Victoria kicked off what the city is calling “The Year of Reconciliation” by installing two new Indigenous art cedar carvings at city hall.
“Canada is a great country but one of our challenges historically is our relationship with First Nations,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, as quoted by the CBC.
Victoria has a number of other celebrations planned to commemorate the country’s 150 birthday, including a June festival in the city’s picturesque inner harbour.