- The prime minister, Justin Trudeau, leads festivities in Ottawa with guests including Prince Charles and members of U2
Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau , has kicked off celebrations to mark the country’s 150th birthday amid heavy security as many citizens braved incessant rain and long delays to reach the main site in the nation’s capital.
About 500,000 people were expected to be in Ottawa for the long-anticipated Canada Day festivities, which features a large outdoor celebration in front of the national parliament, complete with acrobats, fireworks and musicians, including Bono and other members of Irish rock band U2.
Trudeau, accompanied by Prince Charles , shook hands with some of the thousands of revellers who converged in Ottawa for the festivities.
“Canada is a country made strong not in spite of our differences but because of them,” Trudeau told the gathering. “We don’t aspire to be a melting pot. Indeed, we know true strength and resilience flows through Canadian diversity.”
|woman with her dog, dressed in a patriotic outfit during the East York Toronto Canada Day parade.|
Security has been heightened in the days before the celebration and party-goers must contend with road closures and concrete barriers across entrances to Parliament Hill, in downtown Ottawa.
Heavy downpours prompted firefighters to pump water off the grounds on Parliament Hill and the fire service urged citizens to follow safety instructions.
Pierre Anctil, a history professor at the University of Ottawa, said: “Canada 150 years ago was a project, it was an idea to bring together four colonies with very different historical backgrounds. We should celebrate but we should not be complacent. It’s not a finished project,” he added.