Canada celebrates its National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai

News release

Image of Canadian staff at Expo 2020 Dubai with the Canada Pavilion in the background.

March 19, 2022, Dubai - United Arab Emirates – Global Affairs Canada

Today, the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, led Canada’s delegation in its National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai. Her Excellency participated in a series of high-level meetings before the official ceremony at Al Wasl Plaza, the heart of Expo 2020 Dubai.

In her remarks, she highlighted the strong partnership between Canada and the United Arab Emirates and promoted Canadian leadership, innovation and opportunities, while stressing the importance of collaboration across countries and cultures.

The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, accompanied the Governor General during her visit to Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Canada Pavilion marked its Expo National Day with a calendar of cultural and trade events that recognize the deepening of economic, cultural and people-to-people ties between Canada, the UAE and wider Middle East region, which are being strengthened by Canada’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai.

Canada’s cultural program showcased a week of music, art, movie screenings and performances, culminating in a National Day concert headlined by Quebec pop sensation Marie Mai. Marie Mai’s drive and energy, heightened by electrifying rhythms, has seen her build a wide fan base, dazzling audiences in Canada, France and the U.S. Her music incorporates elements of rock, pop and electro mingled in a dynamic way. Over her nearly 20-year career, she has collaborated with renowned talents like Johnny Hallyday, has been a brand ambassador, has begun a successful career in film and TV, and has become one of Canada’s most successful Francophone pop stars.

Canadian alt-pop duo “Neon Dreams,” made up of vocalist Frank Kadillac and drummer Adrian Morris, performed their unique sound blending pop, rock, electronic dance music (EDM), hip-hop, reggae and folk. The pair have won numerous Canadian awards, including Breakthrough Group of the Year at the 2020 Juno Awards and Best New Group or Solo Artist: Dance/Urban/Rhythmic at the 2017 Canadian Radio Music Awards.

Visitors were inspired by internationally renowned circus troupe “Artcirq” and their energetic acrobatic performances. What began as a way to provide youth with a cathartic artistic outlet has become a sought-after artistic phenomenon. Artcirq’s unique performing style blends modern circus techniques with Inuit culture and multimedia production, giving its members the space, skills and opportunities to express themselves and celebrate their heritage.

The Canada Pavilion also commemorated the National Day with the outdoor photographic exhibition “Take Your Seat.” The name of the exhibit comes from the Director’s chair creatively placed in each shot as a reminder that the choice to take care of each other, our planet, and our best selves is ours to make. In line with Canada’s Future in Mind Expo theme, visitors to the Canada Pavilion were invited to “take a seat” on the red Director’s chair and reflect on beautiful connections forged during Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Canada Pavilion will participate in a series of fun events and activities to mark “International Day of la Francophonie” on March 20—a day on which more than 320 million francophones in 5 different continents celebrate the French language as well as their cultural diversity. 

Rounding out Canada’s National Day showcase will be the regional premiere of “Peace by Chocolate,” a Canadian drama film, directed by Jonathan Keijser, inspired by the true story of the Hadhads. The Hadhad family moved to Canada as refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war, settling in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and establishing the Peace by Chocolate artisanal chocolate shop. 

Canada at Expo 2020 Dubai

Canada’s Expo 2020 theme, The Future in Mind, serves as a platform to promote opportunities for trade, investment, education, tourism and immigration, from across Canada’s provinces, territories and cities, and throughout all sectors of society. Canada’s participation highlights Canadian leadership in key sectors, including artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, education, digitization, telemedicine, clean technology, agriculture, health sciences, aerospace and more. Canada’s approach to Expo 2020 Dubai is inspired by our core values of diversity, inclusion, human rights and gender equality as the foundation to building a prosperous and inclusive nation.


“With Expo 2020 Dubai, we are maintaining our focus on promoting Canada’s Trade Diversification Strategy. Canada remains a steadfast advocate for a strong, sustainable and inclusive economic recovery. By promoting our Canadian exporters, innovators and investors at Expo 2020 Dubai, and in my meetings with Emirati officials, business people and investors, we are committed to providing them with meaningful opportunities, and supporting their global expansion.”

- Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development 

“Our theme, The Future in Mind, is an invitation to reflect on how to address emerging challenges and seize opportunities for innovation. Expo 2020 Dubai has been an excellent springboard to promote Canada as a global leader, an innovator and a dynamic collaborator that has solutions to offer to the world. Visitors from all over the world discovered what we Canadians already know: Canada is an ideal place for education, immigration, business, investment and tourism.’’

- Marie-Geneviève Mounier, Commissioner General of Canada, Expo 2020 Dubai

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