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China's Gift to the Rideau Canal Marking Its 180th Anniversary
2012/08/08

On August 5th, a refreshing shower at lunch time has not only swept away Ottawa's heat of summer, but also cleaned the Bytown Museum site of the annual Rideau Canal Festival for its activities in the afternoon.

Under the national flags of China and Canada, the Presentation of China's Gift to the Rideau Canal Marking Its 180th Anniversary opened her ceremonies under the Plaza Bridge by the canal at 2:00 pm, with the opening announcement made by Mr. Michel Gauthier, the Founder of the Rideau Canal Festival, and followed by a short speech presented by Ms. Caroline Risi, the Co-Chair of Board of the festival.

With the invitation of Mr. Michel Gauthier, Mr. Lin Difu, the Chinese Minister Counsellor of Culture to Canada delivered his speech. He said, the year of 2012 marked the 180th Anniversary of Rideaul Canal. In such a special occasion, please allow me to say 'Happy Birthday' to Rideau Canal on behalf of China. It was responded by the audiences with a warm applause.

Then he continued to say, in the past 180 years, the Rideau Canal had witnessed Canada walking through wars to the peace, witnessed Ottawa developing to be such a bustling and beautiful city of today, and witnessed the friendship between China and Canada strengthening continuously and successfully. With her unique history and her elegant scenery, the Rideau Canal had attracted numerous visitors from all over the world every year. Being recognized together as UNESCO World Heritages, the Rideau Canal was also an important link between Canada and China, with her sister historical site, the Great Wall of China. I appreciated the efforts of the Rideau Canal Festival to host the event together with the Embassy of the People's Republic of China, celebrating the anniversary of the Rideau Canal and celebrating the friendship between and the future of our two peoples together.

After Minister Counsellor's speech, the Chinese Adolescent Performing Art Troupe from the No. 43 High School of Beijing presented an about-one-hour performance to all dignities and audiences, including chorus, Peking Opera and Chinese folklore demonstrations such as paper-cutting and diabolo. They have presented a precious gift to the ancient canal, to this remarkable date of festival, and to the friendship between two countries, with their beautiful voices and wonderful performances.

With a total length of 202 km, the Rideau Canal was firstly built in 1832. She is the National Historical Site and the National Heritage River of Canada and has been registered as the UNESCO World Heritage in June of 2007. She is an important landmark of Canada's navigation, with her important value on connecting the Ottawa River and St. Lawrence River. Starting from 2008, the Rideau Canal Festival is held on the first weekend of August in the capital region for four days, to celebrate and commemorate the building and the historical significance of the Rideau Canal.

Special guests presented at the ceremony also includes Mr. Mathias Bizimana, the representative from UNESCO, Mr. Richard Pattern, the Co-Chair of the Board of Rideau Canal Festival, as well as people from local Chinese communities and local media. CTV has reported the ceremony.

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