Inspirational speakers. Enthralling performers. Thousands of Canadians gathered on Parliament Hill. This is WE Day Canada.

By Staff

Sunday’s storm held out until the last number on July 2, during the first ever WE Day Canada on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

With performances by artists from across the country, including The Barenaked Ladies—joined on stage by Col. Chris Hadfield and his trusty guitar—the day didn’t lack Canadiana sentiment. Like the entertainers on stage, the crowd was energetic with patriotism. Excitement spiked as acts like The Tenors took the mic to share one-of-a-kind performances, which for the trio was an emotional rendition of “Hallelujah” in tribute to the late Leonard Cohen.

Empowerment was theme of the day with young community change-makers stepping into the spotlight alongside renowned Canadian performers—all there to share their love of country and hope for future.

“Canada 150 is a chance… A chance for the conversation of the type of country we want to build,” Marc Kielburger emphasized as he and Craig Kielburger spoke to a captive audience.

Among these guests were surprise performers, Shania Twain and Serena Ryder. Each woman, stood up as a proud Canadian, ready to illuminated the breadth of our country’s talent—past and present—and praise the deep-rooted appreciation Canadians have for a country that values its diversity, strives toward reconciliation, preserves the environment and empowers youth.

The inspiring speeches and gripping performances went all the way to sun down, leaving the audience roaring for more. For those who missed our big day on Parliament Hill, you can catch WE Day Canada on CTV this Saturday (7 PM EST). Why? See below for five reasons!

The Tear-Jerker: A student choir sings for Gord Downie and Pearl & Daisy Wenjack.

The story of The Secret Path proved its impact on Canadians in the early evening of July 2, when 100 students sang Gord Downie’s song, “The Stranger.” Gord stood on stage with Pearl and Daisy Wenjack and watched as each member of the choir donned one of his iconic hats. The performance ended with the performers turning to Gord and tipping their hats in honour of the artist’s tireless work building awareness around Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.

Canadians respond: Brenda O’Neill on Facebook, “Such a beautiful moment thank you Gord for waking us up and beginning the healings for a true country through reconciliation.”

The Fist-Pumper: Lilly Singh encourages females to support each other.

Canada’s IISuperwomanII shared the ideals of GirlLove to help inspire females in the audience to reach out and care for the women around them. With three helpful tips, Lilly offered up a code of conduct to elevate her own WE are Canada pledge, which promises to fight for gender equality.

Canadians respond: Sharilee Parcher-Suban on Facebook, “I LOVED THIS!!!! YES GIRL’S SHOULD STICK UP AND OUT FOR ONE ANOTHER!”

The Sing-a-long Leader: Nelly Furtado puts a fresh face on an old favourite.

There’s no question Nelly’s vocals are enough to mesmerize an audience of any number, but when she takes the stage with two, then five, young hoop dancers, the crowd can’t help but groove. Throw in the artist’s hit song, “Powerless (Say What You Want)” and watch as hands begin swaying in the air.

Canadians respond: @wwwaaallleee on Instagram, “Don’t stop inspiring us. 😊”

The Crowd-Silencer: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kick starts a more inclusive 150 years.

Canada’s Prime Minister got the audience’s full attention when he called out youth as the leaders of today and held it as he announced Canada’s secret weapon moving forward into the next 150 years: diversity. He encouraged citizens to find strength in difference and to challenge themselves, each other and the government to continually strive to do better.

Canadians respond: @peadypics on Instagram, “This is so wonderful!”

Save the date! Watch WE Day Canada this Saturday on CTV 7 PM EST.