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Vancouver Canada Day event celebrates local First Nations ‘in spirit of reconciliation’

Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations are leading the Canada Day celebrations at Canada Place this week.
Eagle Song Dancers 1
Spakwus Slolem (Eagle Song Dancers) are performing at Canada Place on July 1 in 'Canada Together' celebrations.

Canada Day celebrations across Vancouver are marking the national holiday with events and activities being planned in conjunction with local First Nations.

Musqueam, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Tsleil-Waututh Nations are driving the events at downtown’s Canada Place on July 1, marking the 36th annual event at the Port of Vancouver site.

Canada Together, which begins at 11 a.m., has been planned collaboratively with the representatives from the host First Nations. Programming, along with the name itself, has been chosen to create a welcoming experience for everyone who calls these lands home.

“After a long hiatus, the Squamish Nation is excited to help plan out this in-person event again for Canada Day,” Sxwíxwtn (Wilson Williams), councillor and spokesperson for Squamish Nation, said.

Williams said attendees will learn about the importance of advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and “learn about different Indigenous languages and cultures and enjoy spectacular performances by Coast Salish drummers and singers.”

Tsatsu Stalqyu (Coastal Wolf Pack) are Spakwus Slolem (Eagle Song Dancers) are featured during the event, which also includes headliner Johnny Reid, The Boom Booms, Omega Mighty, Bitterly Divine, West Vancouver Youth Orchestra, and Carsen Grey.

“Canada Day and what it means to be Canadian has taken on a new meaning in the last year,” Tsleil-Waututh Nation Chief Jen Thomas said. “Working alongside our relatives at Musqueam and Squamish, as well as the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, we look forward to working together on creating an inclusive event that showcases Tsleil-Waututh and Coast Salish history, culture, and values.”

Chosen to honour diversity, this year’s theme: “Weaving together the fabric of a nation” looks to set the intention for the day to gather, celebrate, learn, and share. According to a statement from Canada Together, weaving is a common activity across many cultures and is a metaphor for the way the beauty, strength, and wisdom from the past can combine through multiple perspectives to create something meaningful for today and tomorrow.

“Canada Together renews our July 1 event at Canada Place to reflect who we are in Canada in 2022 and moving forward, and celebrate our diverse cultures and histories,” Tom Corsie, president of Canada Place said. “We look forward to welcoming Lower Mainlanders back—in person again, at last—for our 36th annual July 1 celebration at Canada Place.”

On behalf of Reconciliation Canada, Chief Dr. Robert Joseph will give a special message at the event, while Jack Poole Plaza will host a special kids zone which will include performances from Mom Bop or Will’s Jams.

Interactive displays and exhibits at Harbour Green Park will recognize Canada’s defences forces, while Canada Place Way will be filled with a variety of food trucks.

Canada Together

When: July 1, 2022

Where: Canada Place, 999 Canada Pl, Vancouver.

Cost: Free to attend

Charlie Carey is the North Shore News' Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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