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Prime Minister Stephen Harper greets Canada Day celebrants on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Monday, July, 1, 2013.FRED CHARTRAND/The Canadian Press

"I was on a little block – 4th Street Southwest – there were 200 people on that block, cleaning out basements. And I said: 'Who lives here?' And people gave me a blank stare. And I said: 'Do you have friends or neighbours here?' And people said to me: 'No. I'm from Forest Lawn. I'm from Springbank. I'm from Sunalta. My house is dry. And our neighbours are hurting. And so I came here. I've never been to this neighbourhood before. I came here because I knew they needed help.' That, folks, is the best of Canada. It is the best of Calgary. ..." – Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, speaking to Calgarians at Shaw Milennium Park.

"... It is our job this week to go to High River, to go to Siksika, and show them that we, too, ought to care about them and we're going to help them rebuild. But today, let's take just a little break. Let's enjoy the beautiful day, let's enjoy living and breathing the same air as our neighbours. Let's enjoy being in the community. Let's celebrate the spirit of Calgary, the spirit of Alberta, and the spirit of this great nation. Happy Canada Day. Bonne Fête du Canada." – Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.

"What an example they set. When floods forced so many from their homes, communities dug deep, neighbours helped neighbours and people sheltered complete strangers. That's the spirit that makes Canada the best country in the world." – Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in his Canada Day speech on Parliament Hill, paying tribute to the flood relief efforts in Southern Alberta.

"It was like singing by a campfire with a bunch of friends." – Chris Hadfield said after performing the song "Is Somebody Singing," with a local youth choir on Parliament Hill. Mr. Hadfield's retirement from the Canadian Space Agency takes effect on July 3, now that he's completed his mission on the International Space Station.

"We have so much talent, so much creativity, so much ingenuity. So I challenge you this year to do and give what you can, to make our country smarter and more caring, fairer and more just, stronger and more united." Governor-General David Johnston, speaking on Parliament Hill.

"It's not very red and white up there." – Jim Barton, commenting on the blue flags decorating the stage at Parliament Hill, which a spokesperson from Heritage Canada said were meant to represent the northern lights. Mr. Barton, who had travelled with his wife from London, Ont., to attend the festivities, was filling his quota of patriotic colours with a Canada-themed T-shirt, poncho and lawn chair. "Really, we like the crowds. I enjoy showing the colours – we don't normally do that as a country."

"We missed the people and the chocolate milk. And that we don't carry guns to movies." – Kathy Constable, on her upcoming move to Kingston, Ont., from Anchorage, Alaska, with her husband, Dan, who serves in the Canadian air force.

"Canada Day gives us an excuse to forget about ourselves, and celebrate the good things about Canada." – Jim Henry, who is based in Texas for work, and had planned his family vacation to coincide with holiday events in Ottawa.

"Whether it's raining or sunshine or flooding in Alberta, you know, Canada is where I want to live." – Don Parker, who had travelled from Sexsmith, Alta. to celebrate Canada Day in Halifax, where it was raining.

"Let me leave you with this, from the late, great Stompin' Tom Connors: 'Be the patriot Canada needs.'" – Prime Minister Stephen Harper, signing off his speech on the Hill.


To you, to me, to us... Canada Day. Do something kind for someone. @NathanFillion, Canadian star of Castle.

To all my northern brothers and sisters, Happy Canada Day! I'm proud of you and I'll love you forever! ;^) @JimCarrey

With files from the Canadian Press