Happy 144th Birthday, Canada!

Too often at this time of year we forget the Canadians. While on the Fourth of July Americans are busy at barbecues, parades and concerts, lighting fireworks late into the night, and generating lots of noise about declaring their independence from the British in 1776, many forget that just a few days before, Canadians are celebrating the birth of their country, too. (What’s a Canuck got to do to get a little attention, eh?)

A display of Canadian patriotism for Canada Day
Happy Canada Day! ({link url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/garryknight/4831537686/in/photostream/}Photo by garryknight{/link})

So we decided to do a little bit of research on this important holiday, and find out what it’s all about!

Usually celebrated on July 1 (it’s only celebrated on July 2 if the first day of July falls on a Sunday), Canada Day commemorates the joining of the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ottawa and Quebec into one confederation in 1867. So with the signing of a few papers and shaking of a few hands (in the scheme of things, very little fuss and bother – at least compared to their American neighbors), they became a kingdom in their own right. Let’s just say it was, like the Canadians themselves, all very polite and civilized.

But you won’t find much difference across the border in the way they celebrate their national birthday. Parades, concerts, and fireworks are the order of the day in cities and towns across the country, just on a slightly more “Canadian” scale. This year, the lucky Canadians in the nation’s capital of Ottawa will be joined by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (none other than the famous recent newlyweds Prince William and Princess Catherine of Wales!) for their annual celebration on Parliament Hill, featuring traditions like the Raising of the Flag and the Changing of the Guard. Other headliners will include bands like Newfoundland folk artists Great Big Sea, Prince Edward Island pop singer Jenn Grant and alternative country star Corb Lund.

This summer, consider getting to know little bit more about our friends to the North and their beautiful country. TakeTours offers trips to destinations throughout Eastern and Western Canada, including Ottawa, Toronto, the Thousand Islands and Niagara Falls regions, Quebec City, Montreal, Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies. So book a tour now! What are you waiting for, eh?

William and Kate: Canada-bound!

William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
The Royal Couple ({link url="http://www.flickr.com/photos/7998870@N06/5600838974/"}Photo by UK_repsome{/link})

It seems like the whole world watched Prince William marry his commoner bride (and media darling) Kate Middleton, and the biggest news right now is their upcoming tour of Canada, a country perhaps best known for exports like maple syrup, hockey, and international teen sensation and hair trendsetter Justin Bieber. Responding to an invitation by the government of Canada, the royal couple will be conducting an official tour of Canada from June 30 to July 8, attending myriad festivities and giving royal addresses in this, Kate’s first official trip as a Princess.

From Mounties to Montreal

First up on their tour is a celebration of Canada’s official birthday, Canada Day, in Ottawa, where the handsome couple will be greeted with the full force of a patriotic Canadian welcome: an escort of Mounties, a 21-gun salute, a jet flyover, and performances of “O Canada” and “God Save the Queen.” In the following days, they and their crowd of admirers and well-wishers will make stops at the beautiful and culturally French Montreal and Quebec City, before making their way to the Canadian Maritimes off the East Coast. (Citizens of the largest Canadian city, Toronto, are a bit miffed by their snub, but of course are too polite to really say so.)

Royals at a rodeo?

The Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede {link url="http://www.flickr.com/photos/91503473@N00/1515450800/"}(Photo by john1710){/link}

After visiting Ottawa, Quebec City, and Montreal, the royal couple will move on to see the famous red sands, green fields, and blue water of Prince Edward Island, setting of the fictional series Anne of Green Gables, one of Kate’s favorite childhood stories. From there they’ll head to the subarctic Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories and to Calgary, Alberta for the Calgary Stampede, billed as the world’s largest rodeo. Surprised? A rodeo may not exactly sound like a royal affair, but if they plan to enjoy the diversity of Canada, including its rustic side, why not some bull riding, barrel racing, and steer wrestling along the way?

If you’re interested in following in the footsteps of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the popular couple of the moment, consider one of TakeTours’ Canadian adventures, where you can follow in Will and Kate’s footsteps in places like Ottawa, Quebec City, and Prince Edward Island (but without the paparazzi, of course!) We’ll even throw in some tours of Toronto for good measure!