For the past 25 years a gaggle of friends has gathered on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It all started when dear friends invited us on their honeymoon. The cabins along the shore at Pacific Sands were the perfect venue to strengthen our relationships with each other and of course the beach. We had so much fun together the first year that we made it an annual event. With the 25 Year anniversary upon us, the memory collector in me knew this was a milestone to celebrate.

Enter Flytographer, a Victoria based company with international presence who arrange for people to meet up with a professional photographer and have excellent photographs taken wherever they are travelling or celebrating. A simply brilliant idea.

And so we gathered on the beach with our favourite toys. Our photographer Melody is First Nations and West Coast based. She immediately made us all feel comfortable capturing these precious memories in the setting sun.

After a few crazy photos of the gang, the anniversary couple headed off with our skilled photographer to have a few more personal images taken. A visual record of this important milestone has been captured. As a passionate travel journaller, I also created a couple of images in my sketchbook to remember this milestone.

AquaVan150 celebrating milestonesIf you live in Canada you will know we are about to celebrate our 150th anniversary, our birthday, our sesquicentennial (try and say that a few times). July 1st is the official day but there are many things happening across the country to recognize this significant event.

My daughter is travelling this vast land with AquaVan 150, the Vancouver Aquarium’s contribution to the celebration. She was interviewed by CBC Ottawa about the road trip and the challenges of carrying species from the west coast across the country.

For many First Nations this is not a day of celebration and their voices need to be heard amongst the noise of fireworks and food trucks. Judith Sayers has a strong voice and has turned the negative language around to focus on what she chooses to celebrate as a proud First Nations woman. I appreciate her potent perspective.

Marc and Craig Kielburger are the founders of the WE Movement, an organization that challenges youth (and all of us) to go from Me to We. A recent article in our local newspaper caught my eye. As we celebrate our 150th anniversary, it’s an opportunity to think deeply about how we want our country to move forward in the next 150 years.

Their suggestion – as a birthday gift to Canada, we harness our inspiration and commit to a year of service to help set the tone for the future. I love this country and I love this idea. I want to think deeply about this in order to find a service that fits with my values and skills. I certainly volunteer regularly but this feels like a different ask. Stay tuned. Let me know if and what you will commit to, what birthday present you are bringing to Canada. We all need to step up to keep this country moving in a positive way and to show global leadership. It feels like it’s our time.

Do you have a milestone or family celebration happening this summer? Last year we created a family reunion memento for the Lozeron family. Helping people celebrate their milestones and their stories is something the gang at Visual Life Stories is passionate about. We would love to help you. Thanks for sharing these stories with your friends. I really appreciate it.

Happy Canada Day!!!