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2019.07.01 16:00

Vilnius marks Canada Day, celebrates 'alliance' between countries

LRT2019.07.01 16:00

As Canada marks the 152-year anniversary of the establishment of confederation, red-white illumination of the Vilnius Town Hall is an acknowledgement of the partnership between Lithuania and Canada, according to a press release issued by the Lithuanian Embassy in Canada and Vilnius Municipality.

"We highly appreciate the Canadian and Lithuanian alliance – Canada has always been with us, believed in our freedom," Vilnius city mayor Remigijus Šimašius said in the press release.

According to the Embassy, Canada refused to recognize the annexation of Lithuania by the Soviet regime and was one of the first countries to recognize Lithuania's independence in 1991.

Canada also opened its doors to thousands of Lithuanians fleeing the Soviet regime, and the community today consists of more than 50,000 people across Canada. 

Candada also illuminated Toronto's CN tower and Niagara falls with Lithuanian tricolours in 2018 and 2019, respectively; Vilnius and Toronto are paired cities.

Toronto has a few buildings and locations with Lithuanian titles – Lithuanian’s Centre Anapilis, a Lithuanian cemetery of St. John and a Lithuanian park. In addition, the Pillars of Gediminas (Gedimino Stulpai) symbol and an inscription Vilnius Manor can be seen on a retirement home in Toronto, where many elderly Lithuanian emigrants live.

Alberta, a province of Canada, has a town of Vilnia with 249 residents, established in 1907 and predominantly hosting immigrants from Central Europe. In 1920, it was called Vilnia in honour of the capital city of Lithuania – Vilnius. A similarly named town, Vilnas, can also be found in the province of Ontario.

According to the press release, ties between the two nations have remained strong – Canada is a loyal Lithuania’s partner in NATO, as Canadian soldiers are deployed to Latvia also ensures Lithuania’s security.

The display in Vilnius was organized by the municipality of Vilnius in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania to Canada.

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