The 150th anniversary offered Canadians the unique opportunity to celebrate and embrace values such as environmental protection, inclusion, and diversity. The events and festivities organized for the 150th birthday of the country were held to illustrate and reflect on the ways in which Canada has built and developed its society, economy, and institutions. Participants were offered free passes and access to conservation areas, historic sites, and national parks across Canada.
Some 120 missions and organizations held around 1,000 events across Canada and internationally, and 3.3 million people joined the festivities in major Canadian cities. Community celebrations were also organized in 1,700 communities. More than 27 million Canadians and tourists visited the Marine Conservation Area, National Historic Site, and National Park during the festivities. Lonely Planet featured Canada as their top choice for a country to visit while the Travel + Leisure Magazine showcased the country as the Destination of the Year. This is not surprising given the fact that over 150 private sector partners, non-government organizations, and municipal, provincial, and federal authorities worked to organize multiple initiatives across Canada.
A number of major events were held to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, among which Canada Day, Canadian Multiculturalism Day, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, and National Aboriginal Day. Some 1.3 million people attended or watched online or on TV the festivities organized for the National Aboriginal Day. In relation to reconciliation with aboriginal people, a total of 248 projects were realized, worth 28.6 million. The main goal is the reconciliation between non-aboriginal and aboriginal people. The Invictus Games were held in Toronto in 2017, with over 550 participants competing in disciplines such as wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, powerlifting, and indoor rowing. Tree Canada organized tree-planting initiatives in all territories and provinces. A total of 150 tree-planting events were organized.
Funding was provided by Regional Development Agencies, Canadian Heritage, Community Foundations of Canada, and other bodies. The sum of $610 million was allocated to different projects and provided by the government of Canada. The Community Infrastructure Program was implemented by the Regional Development Agencies with the goal of expanding and renovating existing infrastructure in different communities, including arenas, theatres, libraries, and others.
The National Film Day was held on April 19 and featured Canadian films in public venues, libraries, cinemas, online, and on television. Featured films included titles such as Stories We Tell, Manufactured Landscapes, Last Night, Away From Her, and many others. A digital content hub was organized at the University of Alberta, showcasing events, videos, images, and stories across themes such as climate change, wildlife protection, Indigenous people, Canadian literature, and others.
A number of regional projects and initiatives were organized in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and elsewhere. Ottawa, for example, was the host of sports events such as the Canadian Track and Field Championships and Canadian Olympic Curling Trials. Nova Scotia provided financial assistance to organizations seeking to celebrate innovation and to promote diversity, cultural identity, and achievements. British Columbia was the host of several initiatives with a focus on Aboriginal people, which were held in cooperation with Reconciliation Canada. Events and initiatives included the Walk for Reconciliation, the Gathering of Canoes, and The Drum Is Calling Festival.
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The capital of British Columbia Victoria is a city situated on Vancouver Island, with a population of about 85,800. The city borders with Sooke Hills and Malahat Ridge to the west and the San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountains to the east and south.
The area was originally inhabited by aboriginal people such as T'sou-ke, Scia’new, Tsartlip, and Tsawout. James Cook and Juan Perez were the first to arrive and explore the coastal area in 1778 and 1774, respectively. James Douglas, a Canadian politician and fur trader, founded Fort Victoria in 1846, which became the seat of government three years later. Some 30,000 gold seekers arrived in the area in 1858 in search of gold in Frazer River. The Frazer River Gold Rush was followed by the 1862 Cariboo Gold Rush, and many Canadians settled in the area. The economic role of Victoria gradually declined in the 20th century, and the city established itself as a naval centre and seat of the Legislative Assembly.
The main sectors of the economy include services, education, tourism, marine, and technology. Other well-developed sectors that provide employment in Victoria include food processing, fishing, agriculture, and the retirement sector. Big businesses are involved in sectors such as energy, transport and infrastructure, digital entertainment, clean technologies, and others. Key employers in the area include companies such as the British Columbia Ferry Services, BC Assessment, AbeBooks Inc., and ESIT Advanced Solutions Inc. The main shopping malls in Victoria are the Mayfair Shopping Centre, Hillside Shopping Centre, and Bay Centre. A number of businesses operate in the Greater Victoria area in sectors such as telecommunications, engineering, aircraft manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and banking and investment.
Tourism is one of the major sectors in Victoria, with more than 3.5 million tourists visiting the capital city each year. The area is the home of a number of landmarks and attractions such as the Craigdarroch Castle, Beacon Hill Park, Royal BC Museum, Miniature World, British Columbia Parliament, and others. Beacon Hill Park is a nice park to visit, featuring grasslands, wildflowers, and plenty of options for outdoor recreation. Tourists are offered recreational facilities such as lawn bowling, sports fields, cricket pitch, tennis courts, and baseball diamond. The open vista is a great place for sailboarding, paragliding, and kiting. The Royal BC Museum is another landmark that is well worth the visit. The museum features a host of collections, items, and artifacts across different disciplines, including botany, entomology, invertebrate zoology, paleontology, and mammalogy. The museum has featured many interesting collections over the years, including the British Columbia gold rushes, the Vikings, and Egyptian artifacts. The British Columbia Parliament Buildings are also found in Victoria and are the seat of the Legislative Assembly. The Parliament is open to public on working days, and visitors can choose from self-guided and guided tours.
The Craigdarroch Castle is also a major attraction and a Baronial mansion from the Victorian era. The mansion is the home to a rich collection of artifacts, including silver dresser sets, oil pastel paintings, dining room tables, drawing room light fixtures, and many others.
The Victoria Bug Zoo is a great place to visit, especially for families with children. The zoo features a number of species such as hairy tarantulas, praying mantis, giant walking sticks, and others. The zoo is open from Monday to Sunday. There are other interesting landmarks in the area, including the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Inn and Laurel Point, Fisherman’s Wharf Park, and Marine Museum of British Columbia.
Real estate price growth slowed down in 2018, with average prices in the range of $693,000 and $800,000. The average price of condominiums stands at $503,000 in locations such as View Royal, Esquimalt, Oak Bay, and Victoria. Compared to single family homes, the demand for affordable housing is higher, including semi-detached homes and row houses.
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