Free things Canadians can get for Canada 150
Need more flags to properly celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday? You’re in luck – they should be easy to find.
There’s more than just free flags, though. Various groups are giving away free things for Canada 150, from tchotchkes to more substantial items. Here’s how to get your hands on some.
The Department of Canadian Heritage says it will be giving away free miniature Canadian flags at various fairs and events around the country.
But if you miss the local giveaway and are still feeling patriotic, contact your MP. Members of Parliament have a limited number of flags in both small and large sizes and flag pins to give away to their constituents. Individual MPs accept and prioritize requests differently, but their offices should be able to help. For example, here is the flag request page for Calgary Centre MP Kent Hehr.
If you have time – a lot of time – you can always put yourself on a list to receive a flag that has flown on Parliament Hill. Just be prepared to wait: the estimated time to receive a flag that once flew on the Peace Tower is currently 54 years, according to Public Works and Government Services Canada. You can expect to receive a flag that flew on the East or West Block in just 40 years.
You can join the other 15,000 people on the waiting list by following the instructions here.
Pictures of the Queen
Is a Canadian flag not enough for you? You can also request a free photo of Canada’s head of state, Queen Elizabeth, or her consort, the Duke of Edinburgh.
You can download the photos from the Department of Canadian Heritage’s website, or email a request for a printed copy.
Just note: apparently it’s prohibited to put the Queen’s photo on clothing, adhesive seals, boxes or labels. You have been warned.
You can also request anniversary or birthday greetings from the Queen, prime minister or Governor General if you meet certain criteria. For example, the Queen only sends birthday messages to people who are 100 years or older, or celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Generally, the rules get looser the further down the chain you go – the prime minister will send you a certificate for your 65th birthday, for example.
Parks Canada pass
Admission to Canada’s national parks is free in 2017, and so many people tried to get Parks Canada’s Discovery Pass in December that they crashed the website.
Don’t worry, you can still get a pass here.
Note that you don’t actually need the pass to get into a park, though it does make a nice souvenir.
If you’re in Ottawa at any point this summer, admission to various national museums like the Museum of Nature, Museum of History and the Aviation and Space Museum is free on certain days or at certain times. Thursday evenings seem to be a popular time for free admission.
There is a list on the Ottawa Tourism website, though you should visit individual museum websites to confirm.
Tours of Parliament Hill are free.
The Department of Canadian Heritage will be giving away more than just tiny Canadian flags at events, fairs and festivals. They say that giveaways will also include pins, temporary tattoos, cellphone screen cleaners and glow sticks.
The Canada 150 logo has also been licensed to thousands of commercial entities, which are busy churning out branded clothes, barbecues, tractors and more. They’re probably not free though.
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