The country is gearing up for its anniversary celebrations this week — showcasing a multitude of events funded by the half-a-billion federal dollars allocated to mark the 150th year since Canadian confederation.

The federal government has invested $200 million in various community and country-wide initiatives around the festivities, including $20 million for events taking place on Parliament Hill this Canada Day. An additional $300 million has been devoted to infrastructure projects across the country.

The events marking the national anniversary will involve a hefty cost to operate. The amount set aside for the Ottawa celebrations does not include the cost of police deployment to events, expected to be at its highest level this year.

With a total of $100 million designated for the community-level projects, a further $80 million have gone toward 38 projects designated as “signature initiatives” by the government.

Thus far, a tall ship race in Quebec City and a massive multimedia installation in Ontario have racked-up a total of $10.5 million in funding.

A giant game of snakes and ladders planned for Calgary, Alberta has been granted $416,000 for an installation this September. The organizers will offer a dozen experiential sites, ranging from a virtual reality public transit space station to a 51-metre-long, fire-breathing snake.

Another $198,000 has been expended for the Red Couch Tour, where people will have the chance to take photos on a leather sofa that will make a country-wide trip. In Port Alberni, the Tri-Conic Challenge, which pits human athletes against Canada’s steam-engine trains or freighter boats, has received $80,000.

Over 3,000 applications from groups vying for a piece of the community fund were submitted, but only 15% of the commemorative ideas were approved for funding as of early last month. The rest have either been rejected or are still to be processed.

There are also many smaller-scale events planned under the banners of the national celebrations. With a $50,000 grant, a Nova Scotia arts centre will produce a musical that details the history behind Canada’s suffragette movement. Prince Edward Island’s Symphony Society has received $115,000 for its poetry contest. 

As the expensive endeavour of celebrating the sesquicentennial unfolds this year, it promises a manifold of activities in which Canadians can partake in their provinces.

With files from Global News, The Globe and Mail, and Metro News.

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