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Montrealers celebrate Canada 150

Montrealers celebrate Canada 150
Montrealers celebrate Canada 150

Published on: July 1, 2017 | Last Updated: July 1, 2017 3:59 PM EDT

Vanessa Reginato, left, and Sabiha Begum sit on the sidewalk as they enjoy the Canada Day Parade in Montreal on Friday, July 1, 2016. Peter McCabe / MONTREAL GAZETTE

The rain drizzled on Montrealers Saturday afternoon as they lined Ste-Catherine St. to watch the procession of representatives from different cultural communities for the Canada Day parade.

The parade began at 11 a.m. on the corner of Ste-Catherine St. and Fort St. and proceeded toward Peel St. before turning onto René Lévesque Blvd. and ending at Place du Canada after 1:30 p.m.

The rain picked up in intensity and umbrellas dotted the crowd more and more. While many expressed their disdain for the weather, it wasn’t enough to lead to a massive exodus on the country’s 150th anniversary. Canan Cili was perhaps one of the few parade go-ers unaffected by the rain. Sitting on her foldable chair on the corner of Ste-Catherine and De La Montagne Sts. and holding an umbrella, she said she couldn’t be happier about the rain.

“I hate hot weather, so it’s fine for me,” Cili said. ” I like cold weather and the fresh air now.”

Cili is originally from Istanbul, Turkey. She moved to Canada 12 years ago with her son who was pursuing a degree in electrical engineering at McGill. Cili, 61, said she doesn’t attend the parade every year but said the diversity in cultures represented in the parade is reflective of

“How can I explain my feelings? It’s like paradise! … I’m really happy here.”

The emphasis on diversity and inclusivity was apparent, with the damp air filled with cymbals giving rhythm to Chinese dancers and the eventual sound of bagpipes making their way down Ste-Catherine St. The Bangladesh Solidarity group, Aklan Association of Montreal, a group that represents the Philippine community, the Jamaican Association of Montreal and Les Éclairs du Québec were but a few of the groups marching down the parade.

For Jim Sullivan, this was easily the best parade he’s ever been to. Born in Northern Quebec, he has spent at least 50 years in Montreal. Sullivan has been coming to the parade every year with his wife and feels that the attendance at this year’s parade was more encouraging. 

“It reminds you how lucky we are to have a country with so much diversity and so many cultures coming together,” Sullivan said.

For Sullivan and Leblanc, the festivities didn’t end when the parade ended. Leblanc said they were recording the celebrations in Ottawa and plan to watch them to keep the celebrations alive. 

While many stood out in the rain to celebrate Canada’s 150 years of nationhood, an anti-capitalist group protested the holiday in Old Montreal.

The parade ended at Place du Canada where cake and activities for children and families awaited.

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