Dubai: As Canada’s marks its 150th birthday on Saturday as a modern, diverse democracy, Canadian expats across the UAE ring in their country’s sesquicentennial with a deep sense of national pride.
As part of Canada 150 celebrations in Canada and the UAE, expats are paying homage to a variety of Canadian values ranging from environment and diversity and youth and inclusion to a major effort this year to reconcile Canada’s Indigenous history to pay homage to the First Nations of the country.
The forging of a nation in 1867
‘Yayyy! Happy 150th Birthday Canada!
Canada is a beacon for refugees
These are the world’s happiest countries
As estimated 25,000 Canadian expats live in Dubai and a further 15,000 live in Abu Dhabi.
Masoud Hussain, Canadian Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News that this year’s anniversary on Canada Day is all about inclusion and diversity of all Canadians’ backgrounds that come together to make the country a strong nation.
On July 1, 1867, the British North America Act became law, creating an eventual Canadian Confederation under a Dominion from sea to shining sea.
“Canada’s 150th anniversary is an occasion to strengthen the ties that unite Canadians of all backgrounds, to think about what it means to be Canadian and to celebrate Canada’s linguistic, cultural and regional diversity, as well as its rich history and heritage,” Hussain said.
One of largest partners
In a message to Canadian expats on the embassy website, he noted that the “volume of Canadian exports, approximately $2 billion (about Dh5.6 billion) in 2015, has grown significantly in recent years and the UAE is one of Canada’s largest trading partners in the Middle East and North Africa.
“The UAE is also a top foreign investor in Canada, and more than 150 Canadian companies have a local or a regional office located in the UAE. These deepening economic ties reflect the scale of the UAE’s modernisation and its regional leadership in sectors such as culture, education, health, sports, tourism, trade and transportation.
“Equally as important as trade in goods and services are the people going back and forth between the UAE and Canada, building relationships and learning about each other’s cultures … There is a dynamic community of over 40,000 Canadians living in the Emirates, contributing every day to the vibrant society of the UAE and helping the Embassy and Consulate General represent the diverse, pluralistic and tolerant values of Canada,” Hussain said.
Emmanuel Kamarianakis, Consul-General of Canada to Dubai and the Northern Emirates, said he is pleased with a number of Canada 150 events held in the UAE in 2017 which signify deep connections for expats to their home country.
“Our year in the UAE has been exceptional in 2017: it has been filled with activities focused on youth, on diversity and on celebrating our country’s positive influence in the world,” Kamarianakis told Gulf News.
“We invite all Canadians in the UAE to work with us to make 2017 a historic year with a lasting legacy. This year has been an opportunity for Canadians to re-affirm our commitment to engaging with the UAE on all fronts and to solidifying an important friendship to last long after the celebrations have ended,” he said. As part of the Canada 150 celebrations in Canada, two members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Marie-Josée Homsy and Caroline Stewart made a special visit to UAE expats wearing the universally recognised “Mountie” uniform.
Organisers of Canada 150 celebrations in the UAE said the Mounties visited the UAE to engage Canadians of all backgrounds and ages at events across the country including a reception hosted by the Consulate General of Canada, a concert delivered by legendary Canadian singer Bryan Adams as well as a Minecraft ‘buildathon’ organised by Max, an 11-year old Canadian boy from Dubai who is constructing a Canada 150-UAE World in Minecraft that features iconic structures from both the UAE and Canada.
“I am very proud to represent my country in the UAE,” said Sergeant Marie-Josée Homsy, donning a ‘Red Serge’ uniform, a national symbol of Canadian heritage.
“Mounties who earn the right to wear the uniform sport it with pride and dignity. Dubai is a beautiful city with unique and beautiful modern architecture. I was inspired by the multiculturalism that is evident wherever you go. I was also impressed by the focus on people’s happiness and well-being.”
The Mounties toured the Etihad Museum and learned about the UAE and its founding fathers. The museum was designed by Canadian firm Lorde Cultural Resources and Moriyama & Teshima Architects, who have designed the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa and the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.
The Mounties also visited the Burj Khalifa for selfies with Canadian tourists and then on to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) which dedicated a special Canada 150 message around The Gate building, a gesture embodying the close business ties between Dubai and Canada and the close partnership between its institutions.
Canada’s capital celebrates
Dubai: Canadian expats in the UAE may want to capture expected live online coverage on CBC’s Facebook page of Canada 150 celebrations on Saturday, July 1 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Organisers are expecting massive crowds of Canadians to spill into the capital city core to take in a day long celebration which will include live musical performances by rock band U2 and a plethora of legendary Canadian artists such as Gordon Lightfoot.
Canadian media report that the celebrations will include Canadian songs played from the bells inside the carillon of the Peace Tower dominating high over the Parliament Buildings.
A 21-gun salute will be complemented by a fly-past demonstration by the Canadian Snowbirds aerial acrobatic team as well as a citizenship ceremony and a show by Cirque du Soleil.