In 2017, Vancouver staged a once-in-a-lifetime project to mark Canada's 150th anniversary, with Vancouver Commemorates Canada 150+.
The plus sign in Canada 150+ symbolized that we were commemorating our Indigenous cultural heritage before confederation, acknowledged our journey over the past 150 years, and celebrated what’s to come as we embraced, “Moving forward together.”
As Canada’s only City of Reconciliation, through partnership with Vancouver’s three Host Nations of Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh, we engaged the community throughout 2017 under the umbrella title, "Strengthening Our Relations (150 KB)."
Large-scale signature events
Gathering of Canoes, July 14, 2017
More than 2,500 people gathered to watch a flotilla of 25 canoes and 350 canoe pullers paddle along Vancouver’s coastline. The Gathering of Canoes was the final stop on a 10-day Pulling Together Canoe Journey down the BC coast, which was an act of solidarity and cooperation toward reconciliation between Indigenous communities and non-Indigenous Canadians.
At the Hadden Park shore by the Vancouver Maritime Museum, Elders and Chiefs from the Host Nations welcomed canoes to their shared traditional territory using traditional protocol.
The Drum is Calling Festival, July 22 - 30 2017
Downtown Vancouver came alive to the beat of drumming during this free, 10-day arts and culture festival – Canada’s largest outdoor Indigenous festival. More than 700 Indigenous artists and performers provided a welcoming space to 40,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous attendees.
The Host Nations collaborated on a vibrant, interactive festival of traditional and contemporary Indigenous and cross-cultural performances.
Walk for Reconciliation, September 24, 2017
With Reconciliation Canada, the City of Vancouver co-produced the Walk for Reconciliation, where 50,000 people of all backgrounds, faiths, cultures, and ages gathered in downtown Vancouver and processed over the Georgia viaduct to gather together at Strathcona Park.
There, the partners held a Reconciliation Expo, which included Indigenous and multicultural programming.
Free events, projects, and programs
We joined partners in the community to offer free events, projects, and programs to commemorate Canada 150+ throughout the year, including:
- Aboriginal Production Apprentice Program
- Canada 150+ murals and other 2-D artworks
- Vancouver Public Library’s Story City
- Other events that showcased Indigenous arts, culture and learning experiences for youth and families, and more
Moving Forward Together
Overall, Strengthening Our Relations: Vancouver Commemorates Canada 150+ highlighted the living cultures of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, urban Indigenous and Métis communities, as well as settlers, visitors, and newcomers.
For more information on the goals, actions, outcomes and impacts of Vancouver Commemorates Canada 150+, as well as future directions on continuing the legacy and spirit of reconciliation of Canada 150+, read the full council report (511 KB).