More than 10,000 people gathered on Parliament Hill on Monday to celebrate the country’s 152nd birthday.
Ottawa police said roughly 11,500 people were at the main site of the festivities as of noon, which was when the first of several planned performances got underway with artists including K’Naan, Shawnee, T. Thomason and Karim Oullet. That was an increase over the crowds in 2018, when a scorching heat wave dropped the attendance numbers down to roughly 6,000.
Among those taking in the celebrations was Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds, who had a seat just behind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family near the stage where hosts Ashley Callingbull, a First Nations activist and model, and Quebec media personality Herby Moreau introduced the noon show guests.
WATCH: Thousands of people converged on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to help to celebrate Canada’s 152nd birthday. David Akin reports on the festivities, and how Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques joined in on the fun from Houston.
“Canada Day on Parliament Hill is something of a tradition for many of us and I couldn’t be happier to be back with you this year,” Trudeau said in his remarks to the crowd, noting he had been away from the national celebration last year and instead at smaller events in communities hit by the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump.
“We saw something very Canadian. We saw people being there for each other during tough times … in the weeks that followed, a wave of solidarity swept across the country. We put up a united front. We leaned on each other.”
He added that the difficulty faced by communities and the country as a whole was emblematic of how Canadians work together and look out for each other.
“This is a perfect example of what we can achieve when we lift each other up.”
WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greeted many of the people who attended a Canada Day event at Claudette Cain Park on July 1
But Parliament Hill isn’t the only site where those in the National Capital Region can celebrate the nation’s birthday.
The Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., as well as Major’s Hill Park, located several minutes walk from Parliament Hill, are also playing host to a variety of Indigenous ceremonies, concerts and family activities on Monday.
The performances at Major’s Hill Park will be by J Domeno, Élage Diouf, Tyler Shaw, Corneille and Tokyo Police Club.
Across the river at the Museum of History, the guests will be DJ Shub, James Jones, Angela Gladue, Silla and Rise, Bleu Jeans Bleu and Ben Caplan.
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In addition to the noon show performers, there will also be an evening show on Parliament Hill featuring performances by The Strumbellas, Cœur de pirate, Crystal Shawanda, William Prince, Marie-Mai, Brett Kissel, and DJ KAYTRANADA.
Law enforcement are advising that anyone wishing to join the celebrations on Parliament Hill arrive at least two hours early for security screenings.
Trudeau had also posted a brief message on Twitter to mark Canada Day in the morning ahead of his scheduled remarks.
“Happy birthday, Canada! Whether you’re watching the fireworks, firing up the grill, or getting outside with your kids, today, we celebrate the amazing place we call home,” he said, before noting the government’s work to combat the challenges of unemployment and climate change.
“I know we’ll step up to the challenges we’re facing, just like we’ve always done — because no challenge is too great, if we face it together. From my family to yours, happy Canada Day.”
The fireworks show will get underway at around 10 PM EST and last about 15 minutes, with the best views likely to be from various points around the Ottawa River or from Major’s Hill Park, which also overlooks the river.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will not be in the capital but will be travelling to various events across the country.
He’ll start the day in Meductic, New Brunswick, then head to Toronto Ribfest and end the day in Kelowna, British Columbia.
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