Happy Canada Day!

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Hello everyone. Atelihai!

Wherever you are in our great country, greetings to you all.

A special salute to the men and women who serve Canada in uniform, and to the people of the First nations, the Métis and the Inuit.

Every year on this first day of July, at the beginning of the summer season, so spectacular and so vital in these northern latitudes, we take a moment to think about our good fortune and to celebrate who we are.

This year is a little different. Because we have had to look out for one another like never before. Because this year, we have been tested.  

We are just now carefully emerging from months of fighting a deadly invisible enemy, with unprecedented measures, and thanks to the tireless work of those who helped slow down the virus and kept the country running.

Have you ever watched toddlers interact with one another? They will often try to take away each other’s toys, and act selfishly, but a parent or a caregiver will come along to teach them to share and to be generous.

We are taught the basics of social interaction from the very beginning.

Yet, if you observe further, you might see something else kick in: a basic instinct. Especially if one baby starts crying, the other will want to console and to stop the hurt. The baby will show compassion.

So are we born with compassion or is it acquired in our upbringing? And if it is within us, as we grow up and mature, does it get re-emphasized or does it get destroyed – depending on our life experience?

I believe there are many crossroads, along the road of life, where we have to make choices and decide which direction we take. This is exactly what we witnessed throughout the country in these trying times.

The virus brought physical distancing and social isolation, and pain and death.

In response, Canadians chose “compassion and solidarity.” They chose to live with one eye on their individual needs and the other eye on the common good.

And we were quick to reinvent ourselves: from teleworking to online classes, from virtual artistic performance to “2-meter shopping”, we have adapted and found creative ways to connect, to support each other, to reach out, to graduate, to show gratitude, to play outside, to train, to perform and to inspire. 

The pandemic has also forced us to look beyond ourselves. Because we love each other, even at a distance. It has forced us to make sure: that we support workers, families and businesses; that we stand for the most vulnerable, the less fortunate; that we ensure the security and well-being of all; and that we denounce hatred and violence in all its forms. Because the inequalities and the racial divides of our society resurfaced in a fury, exposing, again, the flaws and shortcomings that we so need to address. 

Our diversity is one of our greatest assets. There would be no inventions, no creativity, no freedom, if we were all the same. What makes us unique, our differences are the strength of our nation’s fabric.

Just like the toddlers grow into adults, did a mature 153-year-old Canada grow into a caring nation?

Will we remember the lessons of the 2020 pandemic, of the unspeakable shooting in Nova Scotia, of the importance of reconciliation? I am confident that we have, and that we will not remain indifferent, because we care.

Today let us celebrate the resilience and the generosity of everyone throughout the country. Strong and free. 

Happy Birthday Canada!


Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette and the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General gratefully acknowledge and thank all those who contributed to the creation of this video.


In order of appearance:

Ross Tilley

Courtesy of The London Free Press, a division of Postmedia Network Inc., featuring Mya Van Luyk, Wendy Van Luyk, Diana Vestering & Nancy Joyal

Whole Way House & Hundredfold Production

Canadian Forces Combat Camera

Dr. Pierre Tessier and l’hôpital Sacré-Cœur

Jim & Kim Rhindress

VGH UBC Hospital Foundation

Cinémask, Carla Clarke & Claude Collins

Global News – Quinn Collander

Sean Uy

VGH UBC Hospital Foundation & Queen Elizabeth Elementary School

Émile & Florence Marin

Heather Green-Oliver


David Morin

@OntariosDoctors (OMA)

Newfoundland and Labrador English School District


Collège Mont-Saint-Louis, Montréal

Stephen Keppler

Canada Post


Carolyn Rohaly

Victoria Lynes

Riley Smith for The Canadian Press



Jonathan Gazze

Moment Factory

Mireille Chayer

Guelph Police Services

Camille Bérubé

Jessy Brethour & Meatheads Grill

Dominic Laporte (artist) & Wayne Cuddington (photographer)

Photograph by Adam Scotti, featuring David Kawai & Sean Kilpatrick

Marie-Ève Lévesque & Succès scolaire

Courtesy of the Sākihiwē Festival

Quartom: Julien Patenaude, Benoit Le Blanc, Philippe Gagné and Philippe Martel
Singer: Marie-Christine Depestre
Musician/Guitarist: Matt Laurent, Laurier Payette-Flynn
Sound Engineer: Ghyslain Luc Lavigne
Arrangement: Julien Patenaude
Beaulieu Artistik Management (Lise Boyer) and the team from Studios Piccolo in Montréal

Yannick Nézet-Séguin & l’Orchestre Métropolitain

CTV News

Isabelle Horner & Manon Lacombe

MAPP MTL in collaboration with the borough of Ville-Marie and Les couleurs essentielles

Brent Hayden

Jennifer Abel

Serge Ibaka, Toronto Raptors

Julia Romualdi, Special Olympics Canada

Henri Aubertin, Julie McDonald, Laurier Payette-Flynn

Joanne Hanley

Jacqueline Carey, André Payette

Kara Anderson

Little Farm That Could

Sundog Organic Farm

Cedar Grove Organic Farm

Thali Ottawa

Jessica Balzer

Toronto CityNews

Jacques Nadeau for Le Devoir

Randi Beers for CBC

Jessica Côté-Guimond

Trade Commissioner – Délégués commerciaux

Martin Pi

Amelia Friday

Gurdeep Pandher

Amica Aspen Woods

Michael McDonald for The Canadian Press



Families of the Humboldt Broncos:

Brad & Marilyn Cross

Marilyn Hay

Tanya & Viviana LaBelle

Scott & Laurie Thomas

Chris & Richelle Beaudry

Carol Brons

Kurt, Celeste, Kiana & Karysa Leicht


City of Humboldt:

His Worship Rob Muench, Mayor of Humboldt

Councillor Roger Nordick

Councillor Lorne Pratchler

Penny Lee, Communications Manager

Mike Kwasnica, Director of Protective Services/Fire Chief

Darrell Wickenhauser, Deputy Fire Chief


Staff Sgt. Al Presler, RCMP

Cpl. Ivan Ottenbreit, RCMP


Because of time, not all special moments could be shared—in alphabetical order:

Alex Bugailiskis

Romi Dole

Lisa-Marie Dunlop-Dalton

Christine Engel

Sinead Holstein

Christopher Katsarov

Bryan McKeever

Rosie MacLennan

Pier-Olivier Gagnon

Aurélie Rivard

Mohamed Safa

Tina Charlyse Stewart

Black Creek Community Farm


Thank you to those who helped behind the scenes—in alphabetical order:

Jihan Ammar

Larissa Cahute

Heather Cameron Thomson

Andrew Cherniawsky

Andrea Gordon

Liza Islam

Carmen Moore

Claudine Nézet-Séguin

Elena Novikova


Music credits:

“Plus tôt”

Composed and performed on the piano by Alexandra Stréliski

Licensed courtesy of Secret City Records Inc.

Published by Secret City Publishing Inc. and White Turtle Publishing (administered by Secret City Publishing Inc.)



Written by Leonard Cohen

Published by Sony/ATV Songs LLC (BMI)

Production Team:

Director: Jeanne Leblanc

Cameraman and film editor: Naomi Silver-Vézina

Sound mixing and sound editing: Ghyslain Luc Lavigne and the staff of the Office of the Secretary of the Governor General


Operator – Second Unit: Henri Aubertin

Sound technician – Second Unit: Laurier Payette-Flynn