Thousands of British Columbians gathered on Canada Day around the province, however, celebrations had a different tone this year.
After the discovery of the unmarked graves across the country last summer, the City of Victoria decided it was time to do Canada Day a little differently.
The city’s mayor crossed the inner harbour, before the opening of Victoria’s Canada Day celebrations, in a traditional Indigenous canoe. It was a new beginning for Canada Day in the capital.
“It really means a lot for the Lekwungen people to have that happen today,” Margaret Charlie said, a Songhees First Nation Elected Council member.
Along with the national anthem, traditional dancers took centre stage and a moment of silence was held – a stark contrast to typical fireworks.
“It’s about having western culture and in our case in these lands Lekwungen culture live side by side. It’s not either or, it’s a both and I think that we’re really seeing that today,” Lisa Helps said, Victoria’s mayor.
In other communities across the province, the theme of truth of reconciliation was at the forefront.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was at Canada Day festivities at Edmonds Park in Burnaby.
“We reflect on the injustice that the country has committed and commit to making sure we build a better country,” said Jameet Singh.
While there is still much work to be done according to the NDP leader, this Canada Day marks another step on the path to reconciliation, setting a precedent for years to come.