After a two-year hiatus, and a venue change due to the ongoing Parliament Hill restoration, Canada Day celebrations returned to Ottawa in a big way with a massive two-hour evening show broadcast live from Lebreton Flats and across the country.
Hosted by Radio-Canada journalist Isabelle Racicot and CBC Radio host, Ali Hassan, the bilingual show celebrated Canadian diversity through artists representing multiple genres and disciplines kicked off with a medley of hits featuring headliners Salebarbes, Walk of the Earth, Charlotte Cardin, Ariane Moffett, Sebastian Gaskin before leading into a full performance of “Good Lord” by Acadian superstars, Salebarbes and a powerful performance by JUNO Award sensation Charlotte Cardin of her hit single “Meaningless.”
Continuing, the night welcomed Allan Slaight JUNO Masterclass alum, Sebastian Gaskin, who performed his single, “Medicine,” while Senegalese-Canadian femcee, Sarahmée, performed “Elle est partie” off of her latest album Poupée Russe.
Canada Day audiences then welcomed a legend of Quebec pop, when Ariane Moffatt arrived to perform her 2015 hit, “Debout” before JUNO-Award-winning singer-songwriter, William Prince, performed “Wasted” live from Canada Day celebrations in Yellowknife.
Returning to Ottawa, rockers Walk of the Earth performed their latest hit, “Bet On Me,” before the audience was whisked away again, this time to Halifax to groove to Neon Dream’s song of the summer, “Little Dance.” Back once again in Ottawa, the Lebreton Flats audience was treated to the first of a number of one-of-a-kind collaborations, with Sarahmée and Charlotte Cardin, performing Daniel Belanger’s classic “Fous N’importe Où.” The audience was then ecstatic to welcome the joyful Bhangra-dancing online sensation, Gurdeep Pandher, and later Quebecoise country star, Cindy Bédard, who performed her hit single, “Ça se peut.”
The night continued with a rousing performance of “Uqausissaka” by Riit, who was then joined on stage by Ariane Moffatt to perform Moffatt’s 2019 single, “Pour toi.” The audience was then brought to Montreal, where Algonquin rapper, Samian, performed the powerful “Anishinabe” from his latest album, Nikamo. Back in Ottawa, Walk Off The Earth brought Sabastian Gaskin onstage for a moving performance of their 2015 hit, “Home We’ll Go.”
After a trip all the way to Vancouver to hear the soulful Johnny Reid perform his 2010 hit “Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World”, Salebarbes and Cindy Bédard performed T’as jamais rien compris à la musique country” from Ottawa before it was off to Saskatoon to see Tenille Arts performed “Back Then, Right Now.”
To cap the evening off in Ottawa, all of the night’s performers came together one last time to pay tribute to Buffy Sainte Marie and the 40th anniversary of her 1982 Academy-Award-winning song, “Up Where We Belong.”
Coming through after the past two years of fighting COVID, it’s nice to know that Ottawa was able to come back and celebrate the great music Canada has to offer!
Born and raised with thoughts and aspirations of becoming a famous bassist in Sarnia, ON; Emily Plunkett now lives in Gatineau, QC, and considers National Capital Region home sweet home. A product of the Beatles, MuchMusic and the Southwestern Ontario summer festival circuit (circa 2000), her interest and love in concert photography came almost completely by accident when her journalism program at Algonquin College required courses in photojournalism (and she quickly realized that photos taken at concerts using a DSLR are enormously better than ones she was taking on a point-and-shoot she bought for a trip to England). She is extremely proud of the fact she has seen Sloan in some form or another 25 times.