Canada hailed as ‘example’ as it celebrates 150th birthday
Prince Charles helped Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lead celebrations for the country’s anniversary.
Canada celebrated its 150th birthday at a star studded national extravaganza where the Prince of Wales told the thousands gathered their homeland was a place “others look to for example”.
Charles shared a stage with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and told the Commonwealth nation they have positive attributes, from championing human rights to being responsible stewards of the environment.
In a rousing televised speech Mr Trudeau told his fellow citizens that their country was made strong “not in spite of our differences but because of them”.
Bono and The Edge, from the band U2, headlined the acts at the event, playing their song One Love and the Lennon and McCartney track Rain, that fitted the mood of the day with the city drenched by downpours.
Bono joked with Charles and Camilla, whose three-day tour of Canada is coming to and end, saying “Your Highnesses, your Canadianesses, thank you for having us” and said the rain could be blamed on the Irish.
He added: “The Irish have been welcomed here for hundreds of years and still now, from the famine, where we were in many respects refugees, to now, we arrive by choice bringing ingenious little starts ups and approximately 17,165 Irish pubs.”
The prince, who will one day be king of Canada, told the thousands gathered on Parliament Hill in the capital Ottawa for the open-air celebration: “We should be clear and proud that we are celebrating a country that others look to for example.
“An example of fairness and inclusion; of always striving to be better.
“Around the word Canada is recognised as a champion of human rights, as a peace-keeper, a responsible steward of the environment and natural resources, and as a powerful and consistent example of diversity and the power of inclusion.”
Canada150 marks the historic day of July 1 1867, the day the dominion of Canada was born. On that day the British North America Act united the British colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with the province of Canada to form a new nation.
The heir to the throne ended by telling the crowds “happy birthday Canada”.
The Canadian prime minister said in his speech: “Canada is a country made strong not in spite of our differences but because of them.
“We don’t aspire to be a melting pot, indeed, we know true strength and resilience flows through Canadian diversity. Ours is a land of original peoples and of newcomers.
“And our greatest pride is that you can come here from anywhere in the world, build a good life, and be part of our community. We don’t care where you’re from or what religion you practice or whom you love. You are all welcome in Canada.”
Charles and Camilla arrived for the celebrations in a State Landau with an escorted formed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride.
Charles had earlier held informal talks with the Canadian leader and after they caught up the group briefly faced the Centennial Flame and watched a colourful indigenous performance.
Nearby a teepee had been set up to protest against events, in what organisers have reportedly called a “re-occupation”.
The Canadian prime minister visited the site on Friday and said he understood why not all Canadians would be celebrating Canada150 and admitted there was “work to do” on reconciliation.
Before the end of their tour Charles and Camilla planted a sugar maple tree in the grounds of Ottawa’s Rideau Hall and wished it “good luck”, touching it in turn.
The two then observed a ceremony to mark the inauguration of the new Queen’s Entrance at the hall, the official residence of the governor general, the Queen’s official representative in Canada.