08/05/2016 08:10 EDT | Updated 08/05/2016 08:59 EDT

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly Marks Countdown To Canada's 150th Anniversary

GATINEAU, Que. — Canada is 150 days away from the launch of a year-long celebration to mark its 150th anniversary.

Across the country, Liberal MPs kicked off the countdown today that will culminate with the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

In Gatineau, Heritage Minister Melanie Joly marked the occasion at the Canadian Museum of History with a ceremony filled with pomp: dancers, spoken-word artists, poets and other artists.

melanie joly

Melanie Joly speaks at the 2016 Liberal Biennial Convention Winnipeg on May 27, 2016. (Photo: John Woods/CP)

Joly says she wants Canadians to work together to make 2017 a "historic" and "landmark" year that will leave a lasting legacy.

She says the aim is to get communities excited about the anniversary and encourage all Canadians to get involved in organizing activities in their communities.

$210-million budget

The federal government has budgeted $210 million for all projects and events related to the anniversary.

Following Wednesday's announcement detailing the inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, Joly says she also hopes 2017 is a pivotal year in the renewed relationship with aboriginal people.

"We want to ensure that the next 150 years are much better than the last 150 years," she said.

Governor-General David Johnston said in a statement that 2017 will be a great year for the country — in addition to Canada's birthday, there will be the 50th anniversary of the Order of Canada and the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup.

The 150-day countdown comes to a close on Dec. 31, 2016, just in time for the new year.


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