The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (CanCham) led celebrations in the Philippines marking Canada’s 150th birthday. CanCham held events in Davao City, Cebu, and in the National Capital. The final event, a grand outdoors party at Circuit City in Makati, was attended by over 600 guests and featured a mass singing of “Happy Birthday Canada,” followed by a majestic fireworks display.
A recording of the mass singing will be sent to the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. A copy of the official Guest Book with greetings from those who attended will be sent to the National Archives of Canada to be part of Canada’s historical records. The official birthday cake was six feet high with 13 layers, each layer representing one of the ten provinces and three territories that constitute the Canadian federation.
CanCham President, Julian Payne, welcomed guests. “Canada’s 150th birthday is an important one for the Philippines given the increasing number of Filipinos who have made Canada their home. There are now family ties stretching across the Pacific between all parts of Canada and all parts of the Philippines. Filipinos have made many great contributions to Canada’s economy and its multicultural society since the first recorded Filipino landed in Canada in 1890. Filipinos now constitute over two percent of Canada’s total population with Filipino as the fastest growing language.”
The Ambassador of Canada to the Philippines, His Excellency John Holmes, who attended as Guest of Honor, said that “the mutual respect that the two countries have held for each other over many years has been and remains the foundation of warm relations and constructive cooperation. Historic highlights have included the initial establishment of a major Canadian life insurance company here over a hundred years ago, the role of Filipino-Canadian priests in setting up educational institutions across Mindanao in the late 1930s, and the wave of Filipino immigration starting in the 1970s, first to Winnipeg and later to Toronto, Vancouver and other cities. The road ahead for Canada-Philippines relations is a bright one for both countries with the Canada Day celebration another milestone along that road.”
Other highlights at the party included a pick-up floor hockey match between teams representing CanCham and the Canadian Embassy, live music by the Voice of the Philippines Season 2 semi-finalist Rita Martinez and the Ten Tens performing hits of Canadian pop stars such as Bryan Adams, Alanis Morisette, Rush, Jann Arden, Nelly Furtado, Neil Young, and Justin Bieber.
Guests dined on authentic Canadian specialties including smoked meat from Montreal, poutine, blueberry desserts, and a Beaver Tail-inspired pastry. They also sampled Canadian beer, wine and whiskey, including the Labatt 150 beer especially crafted for Canada’s sesquicentennial. Lucky guests won prizes including a round-trip ticket for two to Toronto sponsored by B2B Gold and CanCham, and a round-trip ticket for one to Vancouver sponsored by TELUS, as well as overnight stays in various luxurious hotels and resorts including Busuanga Bay, Discovery Primea, Fairmont Hotel Manila, IM Hotel, Kandaya Resort, Marriott Resorts World Hotel, and Shangri-La Fort Hotel.
Payne stressed that Canada’s 150th Birthday Party was made possible not only by ticket sales but also through generous support by the Title Sponsor, Manulife, as well as by many other Major Sponsors and Event Patrons with cash and/or in-kind contributions including ACCRALAW, AMJ Campbell, Ayala Land, BDO, British Columbia International Trade and Investments Office, Canadian-American School, CanAsean Link, the Canadian Embassy in Manila, Country Style Donuts, Enclosure Systems, Gold Seas, I-Remit, Mill Street Brewing-Labatt Beer, Manulife Data Services, Miracle Soybean, Oceana Gold, OmniPay, Philippine Retirements Authority, Primer Group-Herschel, RD Corp, Steveston Pizza, SGV & Co., Silver Valley Farms, SSI-Joe Fresh, Sunlife, Supersonic, and Tim Hortons Philippines as well as many other Support Sponsors.