Watch above: Thousands of patriotic Canadians put the “Eh” in Canada Day during festivities in Ottawa. Vassy Kapelos has the story.
OTTAWA – The weather on Parliament Hill was sweltering Tuesday, and for a brief time there were tornado warnings in the region as a storm front rolled in – but high temperatures couldn’t stop thousands of patriotic Canadians from attending the Canada Day festivities in Ottawa.
Gov. Gen. David Johnston inspected the solemn ceremonial guards in their heavy red serge and furry black hats as his wife Sharon, Harper, his son Ben, daughter Rachel and wife Laureen looked on.
WATCH: Canada Day messages from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General David Johnston
Tens of thousands of sweaty revellers dressed in red and white listened to performances by such acts as Serena Ryder and Marianas Trench.
WATCH: Serena Ryder happy to be back on home soil for Canada Day
The Snowbirds aerobatic team, trailing red vapour in honour of Canada Day, roared in formation overhead. Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield was flying in one of the planes.
In an interview, Hadfield recalled the moment in his life he felt most Canadian – a 2001 spacewalk outside the International Space Station. He had been helping to assemble the Canadarm robotic device, and as he finished, his colleagues played the national anthem for him.
“There I was, floating weightless in space, crossing the east coast of Canada, listening to ‘O Canada’ be sung for the whole world to hear,” Hadfield said.
“I actually tried to straighten out my spacesuit as much as I could, and stand at attention to honour that song. I’ve always been a proud Canadian, but to have the Canada flag on my shoulder at the time as Canada’s first space walker, that made me as proudly Canadian as any moment in my whole life.”
WATCH: Ottawa celebrates Canada Day in grand style
In Halifax, Canadian flags outnumbered those of World Cup contenders for the first time in weeks.
Canadians are also marking the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War this year.
“We should be very proud of our country – and we are,” said veteran Larry Sinclair, who marched in the annual Canada Day parade in Halifax.
Sinclair — whose uncle died on Vimy Ridge in France in 1917 — served two terms as president of Nova Scotia’s Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada association.
“I’m very proud to see everybody take pride in their country,” he said about the July 1 celebrations. “It’s getting bigger and better all the time, and I think it should get bigger and better all the time.”