CBC rolls out cross-country Canada Day plans with Alessia Cara, Rick Mercer


Some of the nation’s newest stars will help celebrate Canada Day alongside musical legends, marking the country’s milestone 150th birthday festivities.

More than 20 musical and comedy performances are lined up as part of CBC’s nationwide coverage, capped off by the fireworks on Parliament Hill which are expected to be triple the usual size. The concert will be broadcast on television, radio and streamed online. Highlights include:

  • Ottawa: Alessia Cara, Gordon Lightfoot, Serena Ryder, Walk Off The Earth
  • Yellowknife: Bruce Cockburn 
  • Victoria: Arkells
  • Toronto: Buffy Sainte-Marie
  • Banff: Brett Kissel
  • Winnipeg: Whitehorse
  • Montreal: DJ Champion

The marquee event includes a three-hour evening concert special hosted by comedian Rick Mercer on Parliament Hill, which will check in with cities celebrating across the country. Mercer hosted a similar special for the CBC this past New Year’s Eve. 

July 1 also marks Peter Mansbridge’s final day on air as CBC’s chief correspondent. Mansbrige is retiring as host of The National.

He has traditionally helmed CBC’s coverage of the Canada Day ceremonies in Ottawa and will host a Canada 150 news special during the day on CBC News Network. It will include the visit by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla.

Heather Hiscox will kick off CBC News Network’s coverage earlier in the day from Charlottetown — long argued to be the birthplace of Confederation.

Jonathan Torrens hosts THE FANTASTIC HOUR

Jonathan Torrens is the host of Your Special Canada, an hour-long comedy special described as a thank-you note to Canada. (CBC Comedy)

The P.E.I. capital is also the focus of Your Special Canada, an hour-long Canada Day comedy special from Jonathan Torrens, who is perhaps best known for playing J-Roc in Trailer Park Boys. It will air a few hours before the big cross-country concert, followed by a special 150-themed edition of Air Farce.

Torrens is from Charlottetown and will be in his hometown on July 1 to celebrate.

Blanket fort in Trudeau’s office

There is also speciality programming in store for CBC Radio and CBC Kids. 

Out in the Open‘s Piya Chattopadhyay and Cross Country Checkup‘s Duncan McCue will man CBC Radio One’s midday Canada Day coverage, while CBC Radio 2 will spotlight a playlist of all Canadian music throughout the day. Both will air the three-hour cross-country concert at night.

And CBC Kids gets its own hour-long Canada Day special, early in the morning on CBC-TV. That crew will also be on Parliament Hill and will show scenes from their Prime Minister for a Day contest — the winner got to build a blanket fort in Justin Trudeau’s office.

Here’s a full run down of the CBC’s Canada Day plans and how you can watch and listen to them.



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