June 21, 2022 - A traditional canoe arrives in the Inner Harbour to signal the start of National Indigenous Day celebrations in downtown Victoria. Don Denton photo

Canoe protocol to start Victoria’s Canada Day events

Mayor and other officials will ask to come ashore to honour Lekwungen peoples

Canada Day in B.C.’s capital will begin with a ceremony honouring the first people of the lands now called Victoria.

A canoe protocol will take place at the Lower Causeway corner where Belleville and Government streets meet at 11 a.m. to kick off the day’s events. When the boats arrive at the causeway, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps will stand up in one of the canoes and ask for the permission of Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations to come ashore.

“This year’s Victoria Canada Day has been created in the spirit of honouring the Lekwungen people and their lands and culture and to offer a fun, family-friendly and inclusive event that reflects the diversity of our community and our country,” Helps said in a statement.

“Asking for permission to come ashore aligns with traditional protocols of visitors to Indigenous lands and is a very meaningful way to honour the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.”

Once the canoes land, local officials will make their way to the main stage at Ship Point, where the Lekwungen Traditional Dancers will open the day’s performances at noon.

The City of Victoria said other Indigenous elements incorporated into Canada Day events include a main stage performance by blues artist Garret T. Willie, Hungry Babba’s Indigenous food truck and a soundtrack featuring music from Canadian Indigenous recording artists that will accompany the fireworks.

A full schedule of the July 1 events can be found at canadadayvictoria.ca.

READ: Victoria Canada Day back with multicultural performances, activities and food


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