Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada's flag 'a symbol of democracy, of freedom and of hope'
As part of commemorating Canada Day, several people expressed their hopes for the future, including keeping the country open to immigrants and refugees, that society keeps growing and becoming more accepting and that meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous people happens.
Canada's national holiday gives its 40 million people a chance to celebrate and also a chance to reflect on the country's past and future.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a glimpse of the Canadian flag is a reminder of what the country represents, its aspirations, its progress and also the expectations of its people.
"Wherever our flag flies, it's recognized as a symbol of democracy, of freedom and of hope," Trudeau said in a special statement released for Canada Day.
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The prime minister said Canada offers a promise of a life in an open and welcoming society, but also one "where we acknowledge historical wrongs and learn from the past in order to build a better future for everyone."
On Canada Day, CBC News has been hearing reflections from Canadians about what Canada means to them.
'The land is Canada'
For Claudette Commanda, an Algonquin elder, educator and activist, the land of her ancestors and the many ways it ties the people living upon it are at the core of what Canada is.
"It speaks about our relationship to the land. It speaks about our relationship to our ancestors, our relationship to the Great Spirit. It speaks about our relationship to all that Mother Earth provides," Commanda said, when sharing her thoughts on what Canada means to her.
"It speaks about our relationship to nation, to family, to friends and it also speaks about the relationship that First Nations people have with Canadians."
To Commanda, "the land is Canada, and Canada is the land — and this is what Canada means to me."
A place of safety
For Hanna Trofimova, Canada has proven to be a place of safety.
Highlights from Canada Day in the capital
Watch some of the best moments from a Canada Day celebration in LeBreton Flats in Ottawa, scored by Cherylyn Toca's rendition of O Canada.
She and her children landed here after fleeing the conflict in Ukraine last year. Her husband is still there.
Trofimova is among the more than 160,000 Ukrainians to arrive here since the start of the war.
On this Canada Day, the chance to be with her children, away from conflict, is something to celebrate.
"It means health, friendship, being safe, seeing my kids smiling and going to school," Trofimova told CBC News Network from Hamilton, Ont., where she works helping other Ukrainians who have arrived here.
"For me, it means: 'Thank you, Canada.'"
Hope for sunny days ahead
Amid bright and sunny weather in Vancouver on Saturday, several Canada Day revellers expressed their hope for good fortune for the country.
Abdel Mohamed, 16, immigrated to Canada from Egypt more than a decade ago.
Sensing a lot of division in Canada lately, Mohamed said he thought Canada Day was an opportunity for people to come together and express "how much we love this country."
His upbeat attitude was matched by a smiling Barry Harkin, who was spending time Saturday with visitors from Ireland.
"My hope for Canada is to have a good time," said Harkin, 27, who came to Canada in 2021.
Waiting for family to join
Angelica Revina, 36, and her 37-year-old husband, Victor, have been in Canada for five years. They arrived here from the Philippines.
On Saturday, they both became citizens at a ceremony in Winnipeg.
A growing number of family members have made the journey, Angelica Revina explained. Her uncle was the first to make the move and her aunt joined him. Next came her brother, before she and her husband did the same.
"Canada is a very beautiful country," said Revina.
She hopes that her parents will be able to join them here in the near future.
A new step in new life
In Ottawa, Rana Salama was set to become a Canadian citizen on Saturday, along with her five children.
"I was waiting for this moment," said Salama, whose family came here from Kuwait four years ago and has since felt welcomed in their new home.
New Canadians take citizenship oath on Canada Day
'Welcome to our Canadian family,' Suzanne Carrière, Canada's first Indigenous citizenship judge, said after presiding over the oath of citizenship for 17 new Canadians at a Canada Day celebration in LeBreton Flats in Ottawa.
On a Canada Day in which they were to take a citizenship oath, Salama's thoughts turned to the future her children will have.
"They are Canadian now, they can do whatever they want, they can achieve their dreams," Salama told CBC News Network.
A changing feeling
Sergio Luna's 15 years in Canada have been eventful since coming here from Colombia. He's since become a citizen.
But as he has learned more about the country's history and its relationship with Indigenous people, his feelings about Canada Day have shifted.
"The first couple [Canada Days], I was excited but now I don't know what to think," Luna, 29, told CBC News.
"It's a painful day. You want to look at where we're headed…. I don't really see the idea that things are mended."
The prime minister's Canada Day message
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shares his Canada Day message ahead of celebrations across the country.
With files from Tyler Biggs, Catherine Cullen, Ian Froese, Sarah Sears & Juan Jose Zambrano Camargo
Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca