While Canadians bask in the moment of Canada's 150 celebrations, one organization is looking toward the future by encouraging and inspiring young leaders of tomorrow with a massive celebration on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Organizers from WE, a non-profit group that aims to build a "stronger and more caring and compassionate future Canada over the next 150 years," will be closing off the Canada Day weekend with WE Day Canada, part of its nation-building campaign.
Craig Kielburger, a co-founder of WE known for his work as an international children's rights activist, says that the event is one of the organization's key pillars in this year's celebrations and expects it could draw more than 100,000 people.
"Our belief is that Canada 150 is more than fireworks and lawn chairs and sitting back. It's an opportunity to have a national conversation and pledge real action," Mr. Kielburger said in an interview. "What we are building is an entire event and campaign around the idea of what is your gift to Canada."
The outdoor festival, to be held on July 2, will feature an extensive lineup of notable motivational speakers and performers, including Barenaked Ladies, Roméo Dallaire, Alex Nevsky, Kardinal Offishall, Penny Oleksiak, Lilly Singh, Hedley and Margaret Trudeau.
Mr. Kielburger added that the choice in performers and speakers for the event was aimed at creating a family friendly event. Each speaker and performer will also be making their individual pledges on how they plan to contribute to Canada's growth and development, Mr. Kielburger says.
Along with the WE Day event, WE is collaborating with more than 5,000 schools across Canada to introduce a new curriculum into classrooms. The school program, funded by the federal government, offers a range of resources and activities aimed at creating a deeper understanding of Canada through key themes such as youth empowerment, the environment, diversity and inclusion, and reconciliation.
Other projects by the organization leading up to WE Day include a WE are Canada: Future 50 portrait series, honouring 50 outstanding Canadians and their contributions, and new volunteer opportunities for youths.
Mr. Kielburger says the organization will also visit various cities to host smaller We Day events.
"The real reason why we are doing this is that we are really excited for Canadians to see Canada 150 not as something passive but as something that every Canadian has an opportunity to be involved with," Mr. Kielburger says.
The WE Day Canada event will be aired Sat. July 8 at 7 p.m. ET on CTV and live on WE's Facebook page.