Dressed in their best red and white, thousands came out to Henderson Lake in Lethbridge to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, as temperatures climbed into the 30s.
With plenty of music and dance, many were overjoyed to call Canada home, reflecting on what makes the country so great.
“People are inclusive,” Alice Weber said. “I think people are making an effort to love each other well and that always is very satisfying and invigorating for me.”
“It’s living in a good country where you can do what you want, go where you want and no one seems to bother you,” Don Fellger said.
With no shortage of things to do around the city, Mayor Chris Spearman helped kick off the day with a pancake breakfast at Galt Gardens.
“You can choose where you wish to live, you can choose the culture you wish to live in, and when you arrive in a city like Lethbridge, you can participate with people with similar beliefs,” Spearman said. “It’s a great nation. We value diversity and we encourage people to celebrate who they are.”
At Fort Whoop Up, many paid tribute to those who called Canada home, years ago.
“The stories here kind of interconnect a number of things with Canada’s history,” interpreter Brianna Spiess said. “We talk about the Blackfoot and their history because they were here long before any of us were.”
Spiess said in addition to Canada 150, it was also a monumental day for The Fort.
Over at the Galt Museum and Archives, Canada’s national birthday was a reminder for some of where they came from.
Eighty-one-year-old Ilona Szabo was born in Hungry and has been in Canada for the past 60 years.
“I tell everybody this is the best country in the world,” Szabo said. “I grew up with the communist, the Russians, we were scared all the time, but here, you don’t have to be afraid of anything.”
Back at Henderson Lake, a group of Syrian refugees found a shady spot under a tree to escape the heat. For them, Canada Day brought a sense of new beginnings.
“I love Canada because it helped us to build a new life,” Yaser Alsyed said.
“I love lots of things about Canada, the peaceful place and all the people are happy and smile,” Ahmed Atak said.
While a tremendous milestone for Canada, it was a day where people from different backgrounds and cultures came together, giving thanks to a nation that’s given them so much.