The fanfare surrounding Canada’s 150th birthday has become increasingly more impressive as the big day approaches. The government has spent a reported $500 million(!) on birthday bash events around Canada, and if you’re like us, you’re pumped to celebrate one of the greatest countries in the world, and truly grateful for all the gifts that come with life as a Canadian.
There are many ways to proudly celebrate the sesquicentennial, but here are some of our favourite ideas to get you in the spirit of the occasion.
Attend the biggest party in Canada’s capital
If you’re serious about celebrating Canada’s birthday, you are probably already planning on heading to Ottawa for the party that has likely taken the biggest chunk out of that $500 million budget. Not only will our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau be on hand alongside many notable Canadian artists and musicians, such as Gordon Lightfoot, Alessia Cara, Mother Mother and Serena Ryder, but Canada’s own… err, rather, Ireland’s own Bono and The Edge of U2 fame will be stopping by to perform a song. We’re still not quite sure how U2 fits into the birth of Canada, but if you’re a fan, it’s an opportunity to see the Irish legends for free—even if it is just for one song. The largest ever “pyromusical” fireworks display to happen in the city will cap off the evening. We’re confident that attending this mega-event will be well worth whatever you spend in the process, but in the interest of saving as much as you can wherever you can, use your SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express. It’s one of the best credit cards in Canada, offering an incredible 5% cash back on all purchases for the first 6 months. That includes the travel fare to Ottawa and throwing back some beers with Bono and The Edge after the show.
Participate in the Red Couch Tour
In one of the stranger ways to celebrate, a red couch will be travelling 21,000 miles across Canada, where Canadians are invited to tell their stories of what being Canadian means to them. Making 42 stops across Canada all summer long, you can stay home and still participate in this one.
Bring Canadian culture to the rest of the world
Some of you might be on holiday on the 1st of July, or living abroad exploring somewhere new. While this could lead to feelings of being left out of all the excitement, it actually provides you with the perfect opportunity to educate your foreign friends about all the great things Canada has to offer. Throw a little bash introducing them to everything they don’t know about Canada. Forgo the clichés—no beavers or poutine or Justin Bieber—stick to the things they don’t know about. Introduce them to the music of the Tragically Hip, throw on a few episodes of Kids in the Hall and discuss the considerable perks of free, reliable healthcare. The FIDO MasterCard Credit Card has Canadian travelers’ backs, giving cardholders 4% cash back on all foreign purchases.
See the $200,000 rubber duck making headlines
While some have expressed outrage at the money spent to bring a massive duck on a tour across Canada, you can bet the rest of us are going to be taking selfies with this giant piece of floating plastic. It is not particularly Canadian, but this one of a kind photo op is going to attract Canadians and tourists alike. Complain all you want, but don’t forget to take a selfie.
Head to Toronto
While Ottawa might have U2, Toronto has Toronto. Head to Canada’s largest city for a non-stop party all weekend long at Nathan Phillips Square featuring Buffy Sainte-Marie, Barenaked Ladies, Ron Sexsmith, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and more. And if you’re looking for fireworks, the Square will end every evening with a pyro display. There will also be an epic fireworks and light show surrounding the CN Tower on July 1st that will be all over your Instagram feed the following day. If you’re not already in the area, Tangerine’s Money Back Credit Card will help you get there. The card allows unlimited 2% cash back on purchases in three different spending categories, so you can choose the options you spend in the most frequently.
Run a marathon
Over in Manitoba, athletes will be testing their physical limits with a 150 mile run beginning on Canada Day at the Winnipeg River. Participants have 60 hours to complete the marathon. If the idea of 150 miles sounds like a living nightmare (and it does), you also have the option to participate in teams of three, with each person taking on 50 miles.
Throw your own party
BBQ season is in full swing, and celebrating in the backyard with all your friends and family might be the best bet if you have young children to worry about. Avoid having to leave the celebration early by hosting your own event—so you can put the kids to bed and get back to the party. You’ll need to stock up on beer and meat for the grill, which makes for the perfect opportunity to whip out the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card, with its generous 4% cash back applied to groceries (and gas—if you do end up going on a road trip for the weekend).
Wake up at dawn in St. John’s
Newfoundlanders have a tradition of waking up at sunrise to be among the first to celebrate the day, with a sunrise ceremony that happens every year at the top of the city’s Signal Hill. The fun starts at 6am, meaning the rest of the country will still be asleep.
Visit a part of the country you have yet to explore
Canada is huge, and unless you are a frequent traveler who is fond of the wilderness and nature, it is highly likely that there are still provinces and territories you have yet to step foot in. The best way to celebrate the birth of your home nation is to explore it. Choose a city or town you have never even considered visiting, and book a ticket. If you have been using your MBNA Rewards World Elite Credit Card often enough, you probably have enough points saved up to fly yourself and your entire family to even the most remote, pricey location. Yukon, anyone?
Take advantage of the free parks pass
In honour of this momentous birthday, Parks Canada has offered up free passes to get you and your family into any park in the country. Hit the road and take this opportunity to see some of the most beautiful parks in the world for free while you still can. Few things in life are free, so this is a deal worth making a trip for. And we all know camping is the greatest Canadian pastime of all time, so pack a tent and spend some time in nature before heading back to the grind.
While it’s impossible to do everything on this list, you can also use it as a guide for how to enjoy your summer and the rest of the year as the celebrations continue. Happy Canada Day!