Vancouver to ring in Canada’s 150th birthday with year-long First Nations celebration

First nations performer at the Canada Day celebrations in downtown Vancouver. Glenn Sundeen / Getty Images

The City of Vancouver is turning Canada’s 150th birthday into a year-long celebration of First Nations culture, art and music.

Called Canada 150+ — the plus sign denoting the years of Indigenous history predating colonization — the celebration’s theme is ‘Moving Forward Together’ and is a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.

The Commission urged that Canada’s sesquicentennial be used as a time to honour Indigenous peoples.

While the celebration is billed as a year-long event for 2017, it will include three new events to take place during summer. The first, The Drum is Calling Festival, will happen July 22 to 30 in Larwill Park, the Gathering of Canoes, on July 19 and 22, will take place on Jericho Beach, and A Walk for Reconciliation will be set on a date in September.

Also at Larwill Park will be an installation from the Vancouver Native Housing Society of  life-size, Aboriginal housing structures from several First Nations traditions.

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“Here at the City of Vancouver, we are very excited about the year-long activities the City has coordinated to help commemorate Canada’s 150th, and want to encourage you to participate,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a statement.

“We have programmed a once-in-a-lifetime immersive experience that, at its heart, features the cultural traditions, art, music, and much more of our three host Nations, the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh.”

More information on the celebration will be released in early 2017, the City said.

Canada 150+ will be funded through a $2.313-million grant from the Government of Canada and $2.4-million from the City of Vancouver.

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