2017 is an exciting year for Canadians as we mark Canada’s Sesquicentennial — our 150th anniversary as a country. Although the pinnacle of the celebrations will take place on Canada Day on July 1, residents in senior communities across the country have been showing their patriotism with Canadian-themed events all year.
On June 14, Smile Theatre delivered a performance of “Pride and Joy” – a tribute to Canada’s 150th year specifically for seniors. Sponsored by Anne Hathaway Retirement Residence and the Stratford Royal Canadian Legion, this play highlighted “stories of unsung heroes from across the country, from a volunteer at the local hospital to the small-town peewee hockey coach, and everybody in between.”
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At All Seniors Care, which operates 29 residences across the country, Ronna Goldberg, event planner, community engagement has been keeping residents busy with Canadian-themed festivities.
“It’s an amazing year for residents and staff,” she says. “There’s always something new to learn about our wonderful country.”
Every event to date at All Seniors Care has had a Canadian theme, including their Inspiration Village where residents created their own Inuit-themed prints and enjoyed Inuit and Indigenous films. Other celebrations included a Canadian Dance (with music by Canadian artists) and a Royal Mother’s Day Tulip Brunch that celebrated the birth of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands who was born in an Ottawa hospital in 1943.
The celebrations planned for Canada Day are equally memorable, and will include a throwback to Expo ’67. Each All Seniors Care residence has decorated a 150 logo, and will compete in active living games (including bowling and bocce ball) that will end with a medal ceremony, logo winners, and a BBQ dinner.
But you don’t have to be in a retirement community to participate in or enjoy Canada’s sesquicentennial. Celebrations have been planned nationwide to coincide with Canada Day. Here are a few of the can’t-miss, senior-friendly celebrations that are taking place across the country.
Ottawa, Ontario is known for hosting magnificent Canada Day celebrations but this year’s event is on a whole new level. There will be three official celebration sites — Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park and the Canadian Museum of History — and free public transportation, including Para Transpo, is available all day.
The National Arts Centre will host events reminiscent of the centennial Canada Day celebrations of 1967, the year of its construction. Many Ottawa-based seniors will remember the unveiling of this lavish commemorative structure 50 years ago, and to honor Canada 150 there will be a barbeque, ribbon- cutting ceremony, self-guided tours and two free concerts offered by the NAC Orchestra.
All seven national museums in Ottawa will offer free admission all day, a patriotic and educational escape from the heat! For those 65 years of age and older, there is the Mayor’s Canada Day Celebration for Seniors. This event, with featured guest Mayor Jim Watson, is free and offers breakfast, door prizes and live entertainment.
Another not-to-miss event is the formation of a Living Flag in downtown Rideau’s Ogilvy Square. Receive a free ‘Canada 150’ t-shirt and be captured in time as part of our nation’s 150th anniversary celebration.
Small towns offer exciting Canada Day celebrations as well. Stratford, Ontario is set to mark Canada 150 with a jam-packed day full of festivities and fun, including free senior-specific activities. Live music, old-fashioned picnic games, performances by the Stratford Festival players and the signing of a giant sesquicentennial flag are just a few of the items on the Canada Day agenda. Chair seating, water and wash stations, and accessible washrooms will make it easy for seniors to enjoy the day’s celebrations.
Surrey, British Columbia offers a host of multicultural and family-friendly exhibits during their Canada Day celebrations. Activities include the Canada 150 Zone (featuring local performances by First Nations performers, hoop dancers and French-Canadian artists).
The Age-Friendly Activity Tent is the perfect exhibit for seniors to experience with their grandchildren, as it “promotes healthy active aging through intergenerational activities, games, information, prizes and educational awareness pieces.”
The Seniors Strawberry Tea is a community event hosted by City Council. Join over 500 other Surrey, BC seniors and enjoy tea and strawberry cake served by the mayor and members of council.
Halifax, Nova Scotia will celebrate Canada Day with a nod to Confederation. The official celebration will take place inside the walls of the historic Halifax Citadel, a site as old and storied as Canada itself. Seniors may especially enjoy the Dominion Day “Old Time” Village Fair, which includes freshly made donuts, model boat racing, panning for gold and traditional 1940’s games. All of the Halifax Canada 150 activities are planned with senior visitors in mind. The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site is easily accessible by wheelchair and walker, and there are accessible viewing points set up for the concert and fireworks.
This Canada Day, show your true love, strong and free. There is a celebration for everyone, no matter your age, ability, interests or location.
How will you celebrate this historic anniversary? Share your plans with us in the comments below.