The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Canada 150 Kick Off – New Year's Eve in Canada: “Road to Confederation,” a National Celebration

Ottawa, Ontario, Saturday, December 31, 2016


One hundred and fifty years ago, Canadians began a great experiment.

We called it Canada, a name that likely comes from the Huron-Iroquois word “Kanata,” meaning “settlement” or “village.”

A century-and-a-half later, we number more than 36 million people spread across almost 10 million square kilometres of territory.

We live in some of the world’s great cities and some of its most remote towns.

We are indigenous to this land, and we have come here from all corners of the Earth.

That’s quite a village!

And it reminds me: this is a bold, ambitious country.

Canada is a bold experiment in diversity, in compromise, in co-operation.

It’s not perfect. But we continue to strive to perfect it—to build a better country.

Tonight, we stand at a threshold.

2017 offers us a rare, once-in-a-generation opportunity to think about Canada, and to build for the future.

We have a chance to reflect, to reaffirm, to look ahead and say:

We love this country. We’ve come so far. Let’s make it even better.

And that’s just what we’ll do.

One hundred and fifty years ago, our story as Canadians officially began.

Fifty years ago, during our centennial, we celebrated with an outpouring of enthusiasm and nation-building.

In the year to come, I believe our legacy will be to innovate and to strengthen Canada, to continue to build a smarter, more caring country.

And the world’s eyes will turn to us. We have a chance to inspire the world!

To all of you:

Thank you for helping us seize this moment.

Let’s dedicate this year to ensuring this is a country of excellence and equality of opportunity for all.

Let’s strive for reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.

Let’s celebrate and embrace diversity, a strength which has allowed us to build a society that in many ways is the envy of the world.

These are three ways in which we’ll be seizing the moment in the coming year. May each of us choose three ways to make our country better in 2017.

We have a historic chance to shape the Canada of the future.

So let’s work together. Let’s celebrate, and let’s continue this great experiment.

Happy new year to all of you!