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Canada Day Around The World: Canucks Abroad Celebrate The Nation's Birthday

06/30/2012 04:00 EDT | Updated 08/29/2012 05:12 EDT
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TORONTO - Conducting counter-terrorism and marine security operations on open waters thousands of kilometres from home won't stop those on board the HMCS Charlottetown from celebrating Canada Day.

From troops in the Middle East to musicians in England, Canadians abroad are going the extra mile to feel close to home on the nation's birthday.

Canadian Forces members overseas said the holiday makes them feel a bit more homesick than usual, but they take solace in the fact that they are in the company of other Canadians.

"It eases some of the homesickness...but there really is nothing like being home in Ottawa for Canada Day," Sub-Lt. Marsalie Mackenzie said from onboard the HMCS Charlottetown frigate in the Arabian Sea.

"There is some solidarity here with everybody being Canadian, and obviously with the job we do there is that sense of pride."

Mackenzie usually spends Canada Day watching her father play in the Air Force band on Parliament Hill. This year, she and 250 other sailors onboard the HMCS Charlottetown will cap off their patrols by marking July 1 at sea.

"To celebrate we're going to have a flight deck barbecue and the heads of our departments are going to be serving up some hamburgers, french fries and a flight deck movie," she said.

Meanwhile, the 150 Canadian Forces stationed at Camp Phoenix in Kabul have some interesting activities planned — including an armoured-SUV rope-pull.

"We're on a camp with another 3,000 troops from different countries, so we're showing our Canadian spirit to everybody here," master warrant officer Bruno Cyr said from Kabul, adding that troops will also be given a couple of cold beers.

"We haven't drank any beer for four months, so it will be nice to have two good Canadian beers."

Across the pond, a Canada Day celebration in London's Trafalgar Square is bringing together some top Canadian musicians and thousands of expatriates living in England.

Jeremy Taggart, drummer for Canadian rock band Our Lady Peace, says it's not the first time the group is on tour on Canada Day, but it doesn't stop them from celebrating.

"I think we'll just appreciate Canada Day in London with the thousands of others leading the charge," he said. "It makes you feel great because it's a little slice of how things are at home."

Jacob Hoggard, the front man for Canadian rockers Hedley, said it will be the band's first time performing in London and they will bring a lot of Canadian pride to the stage.

"We're looking forward to it a lot, it's going to be really fun to be playing for a lot of fellow Canadians," he said from Montreal.

Hoggard added that if he wasn't performing in London, he would be attending a friend's Canada Day house-demolishing party in Montreal.

"I would've been there with my chainsaw cutting down holes in his wall."

Halifax-based indie rocker Rich Aucoin said the London concert will be much more interesting than his usual Canada Day plans of barbecuing with friends.

"This is probably going to be the biggest Canada Day celebration of my life funnily enough, even though it's going to take place outside of Canada," he said.

"I feel like being surrounded by a few thousand other Canadians will make it ironically more Canadian than me being on somebody's back deck with a handful of people."

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