It's been 145 years since a quartet of provinces became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain and a country was born.
Happy birthday, Canada! You're holding up well.
In honour of the occasion, communities, neighbourhoods and organizations throughout Winnipeg are gearing up to throw parties and host celebrations worthy of the nation that recently ranked fifth in the first-ever World Happiness Report.
Here are a few places around town where you can show your home and native land some true patriot love on her special day Sunday (and eat red-and-white cake):
Canad Day Picnic at the Park
WHERE AND WHEN: Assiniboine Park, starting at 1 p.m.
WHAT: A huge, family oriented, free program sponsored by and named after the Canad Inns hotel chain
HIGHLIGHTS: Magicians, clowns, face painting, games and inflatable rides will keep the kiddies entertained from 1 to 6 p.m. Meet child-rights activist and Free the Children founder Craig Kielburger at the Me to We Booth. Grab your forks, because they'll be cutting the big birthday cake at 3:30 p.m. Fireworks will end the day on an explosive note.
MUSIC: More than nine hours of tunes at the Lyric Stage, starting at 1 p.m. The lineup includes: RCAF Band Air Stream, áa Claque, Fusion Latina, Winnipeg Police Pipe Band, Clyde Heerah and Paradize Band, Magdaragat Philippine, Viva Brasil, Dust Rhinos, Four Mile Road, Marc LaBossiere & Shawn Desman
TIP: Park your vehicle at Canadian Mennonite University and Asper Jewish Community Campus and ride Winnipeg Transit to the park free of charge.
Osborne Village Canada Day Street Celebration
WHERE AND WHEN: The streets of Osborne Village, from River Avenue to McMillan. It actually runs both June 30 and July 1, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. both days.
WHAT: Winnipeg's largest and longest-running street festival, with musicians, artisans, food vendors, kids games and entertainment and a market atmosphere. No entry fee and all are welcome.
HIGHLIGHTS: Sing and dance in the streets, where you'll find restaurants and cafes serving up a fusion of cuisines from around the globe -- from sushi to satay, African to Australian. Outdoor patios and vendors will abound with a variety of mouth-watering street food, including those delectable mini-doughnuts, which are great washed down with fresh-squeezed lemonade. At the demo area, catch fire and belly dancers in action, and learn how to Zumba or try your hand at Bollywood and salsa dancing.
VILLAGE PEOPLE: This year's event will also celebrate Osborne Village being named Best Neighbourhood in Canada in the Canadian Institute of Planners second annual Great Places in Canada contest. An award presentation will take place at the Gas Station Arts Centre at 1 p.m.
PATRIOTIC DUTIES: Show your national pride by heading to the flag raising July 1 at 11 a.m. at the bell tower/fire hall. Then, at 11 p.m. that night, help start the new tradition where everyone on Osborne Street sings O Canada like one big happy family.
TUNES: Grab a cold one (if you're at least 18) in the beer gardens and listen to an eclectic lineup of bands rock the outdoor stage in front of the Osborne Village Inn. Beer gardens open both days from noon to 11 p.m. Entertainment starts at 1 p.m. Bands this year include (Saturday): Sons of York, They Say, Mad Young Darlings, This Hisses, the Manic Shakes, One Blue Door, Electric Soul and Tim Butler. Sunday features El Diablo, The Treble, Jailbreak, Cheering for the Bad Guy, Jason Maas & the Lower Companions, Legs and The Inh'aliens.
Canada Day at The Forks
WHERE AND WHEN: All over The Forks grounds, from noon until 11 p.m.
WHAT: A full day of family fun -- clowns, musicians, buskers, crafts -- at Winnipeg's original meeting place.
HIGHLIGHTS: Traditional aboriginal drumming, dancing and storytelling at the Odena Celebration Circle from noon to 9 p.m. Free, history-themed fun and games at the Park Canada tent from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Strike a patriotic pose at the free Canada Day photo booth and take home a souvenir of the celebration. Kids, make your own Canadian flag at the Buskers Lookout between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
GRAND FINALE: Watch the skies light up above your head from one of the best vantage points -- the river. The Splash Dash Fireworks Tour leaves the port at 10:30 p.m. and the first sparkly explosion goes off at 11 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person.
MUSICAL INTERLUDES: The main (Scotiabank) stage boasts a diverse lineup of local talent starting at 4 p.m. and including Sol James, Don Amero, O' Canada, Sons of York, Jodi King, and Flying Fox and the Hunter Gatherers, with a unique collaboration from hip-hop act the Lytics and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra to close the show at 10 p.m.
New this year is entertainment on the historic Rail Bridge Stage, starting at 1 p.m. and featuring local acts such as Trio Bembe, Hillbilly Burlesque, Red Moon Road and more.
Be the maple leaf
FRIENDS, CANADIANS, COUNTRYMEN, lend your ears and all your other body parts to the Canadian Living Flag event. More than a giant love-in for our native land, the goal is to help the Downtown BIZ beat six other cities (namely the challenger, Victoria) and create the country's largest living flag. Winnipeg drew 3,400 participants last year; this year's goal is 5,000 bodies. Meet at the Manitoba legislature grounds starting at 9:30 a.m. Photos to be taken between 11:15 a.m. and noon. Free T-shirts on a first-come, first-serve basis. Also, musical performances by Brenlee Martin and Enjoy Your Pumas, and a fly-over by a Hercules aircraft.
CELEBRATE your nation's birth in the other official language in Winnipeg's French quarter, starting at noon, with Art on the Esplanade Riel, horse-drawn carriage rides (pick-up in front of the skateboard park) until 5 p.m., and a visit to historical hot spots such as Saint-Boniface Museum, La Maison Gabrielle-Roy, Fort Gibraltar and Cathedrale Saint-Boniface, which will all be open.
PENNILESS though it may be, the Royal Canadian Mint (520 Lagimodiere Blvd.) is opening its doors to revellers and offering free tours of the money-making facility, wagon rides, clowns and more from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
CELEBRATE Canada's 145 years of self-governance by riding the rails back in time on the Prairie Dog Central, Canada's oldest operating vintage steam locomotive. See the prairies in full bloom as the ol' No. 3 gently delivers you to the charming community of Grosse Isle, where you can wander through the newly renovated Heritage House, nosh on homemade goodies prepared by local vendors, or unwind with live music. Train departs at 11 a.m. and returns at 2:30 p.m. Cost is $26.95 for adults, $19.95 for kids. Book at www.pdcrailway.com
EAT 145th birthday cake in North America's only restored stone fort from the fur trade as costumed guides take you on a tour into our storied past. Lower Fort Garry will offer free admission all day, along with crafts, face painting and entertainment. Located in St. Andrews, 15 minutes north of Winnipeg via Main Street and Highway 9.