Celebrate Nature with these Fun Canada Day Ideas

By Canadian Museum of Nature June 19, 2023

Here's a super unique idea to celebrate Canada Day from our friends at the Canadian Museum of Nature

Chalk-Paint Provincial and Territorial Flowers

Make your own environmentally benign sidewalk-chalk paint, and then paint emblematic Canadian flowers with the help of our templates.

Flowers and plants are part of the Canadian identity. Our country flag displays a stylized maple leaf and we have a national flower: the bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)!

But did you know that each province and territory has its own floral emblem?

In this activity, read up on the flowers, get inspired by their colourful and complex shapes, and display your floral pride with a chalk-paint-drawn representation! Our step-by-step, illustrated instructions will guide you through this fun process.

Make sure to share and tag your final masterpiece: #NatureFlower.

Download the complete instructions (PDF).

Make sure you have the permission of the property owner before starting your painting.

Sidewalk-Chalk Paint

Recipe Using Store-Bought Chalk


Store-bought sidewalk chalk, assorted colours
Bowls—one per paint colour Mixing spoon
Plastic bags—one per paint colour
Rolling pin, mallet or hammer

1. Place chalk sticks of the desired colour inside a plastic bag.
2. Seal the bag.
3. Use the rolling pin, mallet, or hammer to crush the chalk into a fine powder. Make sure that there are no chunks.
4. Pour the powdered chalk into a bowl.
5. Slowly add water and mix until desired paint texture is reached. Thicker paint will give a more-intense colour.
6. Repeat for as many colours as you wish.

Recipe Using Cornstarch

Materials—Per Paint Colour
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
Food colouring
Mixing spoon

1. Add 3 tbsp cornstarch to a bowl.
2. Add 2 tbsp water.
3. Stir until smooth.
4. Add food colouring drop by drop—mix after each drop until desired colour is reached.
5. Repeat for as many colours as you wish.

Recipe Using Flour

Materials—Per Paint Colour
2 tbsp flour
4 tbsp water
Food colouring
Mixing spoon

1. Add 2 tbsp flour to a bowl.
2. Add 4 tbsp water.
3. Stir until smooth.
4. Add food colouring drop by drop—mix after each drop until desired colour is reached.
5. Repeat for as many colours as you wish.

Provincial and Territorial Flowers

Copy and Paint, Print and Colour

We hope you will be inspired by their artistic appeal and chalk paint one of these symbols outside, on your driveway or walkway! Our step-by-step, illustrated instructions will guide you through this fun process.

Alberta - Prickly wild rose (Rosa acicularis)
The prickly wild rose was adopted as Alberta's official flower in 1930.

Widespread across Canada, we should all be lucky enough to encounter this pink beauty in a sunny and dry wild space—even up North, where it is known as the Arctic rose.

Get up close to take in all of its fragrance, but you may not want to handle it too much with its numerous prickles! When clumped together, wild-rose bushes make a perfect nesting or hide-away spot for wildlife.

The pollinated flower develops into a bright red fruit (called a rosehip) that provides a welcome food source for many birds, as well as small and large mammals, including bears. Humans also appreciate this vitamin-rich fruit for use in teas and jellies.

British Columbia - Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii)
A small native tree, the Pacific dogwood was chosen to represent British Columbia in 1956.

A welcome presence in the shade of the temperate forests of the west coast, this tree embodies calm, while providing a bounty of food to many forest dwellers!

Five to seven large and delicate off-white petals surrounding the tiny flowers make a showy appearance in the late spring to the benefit of many. A favourite of gardeners and fauna alike, the Pacific dogwood displays a warm palette of pinks and orange in autumn, complete with clusters of bright-red berries—to the delight of many species of birds, and even black bears!

Manitoba - Prairie crocus (Anemone patens var. multifida)
In 1906, a lovely wind-swept spring flower was chosen to officially represent Manitoba: the prairie crocus, or Pasque flower.

Ranging from the north-western provinces to south-western Ontario, this clumping mound of purple flowers can be found in open and well-drained areas.

This early-spring gem provides a rich food source to hungry bees. It is a feast for not only the eyes, but also the touch, thanks to a soft covering of silver "hairs" that envelop the stems and leaves. We invite you to feast your eyes on this special windflower, and even add it to your garden.

New Brunswick - Marsh blue violet (Viola cucullata)
Officially adopted as New Brunswick's floral emblem in 1936, the marsh blue violet thrives in wet habitats such as bogs, marshes and riverbanks, and it is distributed eastward from Manitoba.

Its heart-shaped leaves are devoured by caterpillars, its blueish-purple flowers provide nutrition to a variety of bees, and its seeds are eaten by game birds. Humans also widely appreciate this plant! The leaf flavours teas, and the flower colours jams and garnishes salads.

Newfoundland and Labrador - Pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea)
It was 1954 when this carnivorous plant was selected as the flower emblem for Newfoundland and Labrador.

The pitcher plant is present across Canada's boggy and marshy habitats, where it attracts and feasts on insects.

Even though this plant displays a rounded purple flower atop a tall stem in the springtime, the real work is relegated to the leaves. Pitcher-shaped leaves that are decorated by bright reddish-purple lines lure insects to the plant.

Those unfortunate flying visitors slide down the waxy leaves and drown in the liquid at the bottom of the pitcher. Decomposed by enzymes, they become a nutritious food source for this unusual plant.

Northwest Territories - Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala)
A dainty white rose called mountain avens became the floral emblem of the Northwest Territories in 1957.

Hugging the ground, this mini shrub grows on gravelly slopes and tundra through Northern Canada, and also on the alpine meadows of British Columbia and Alberta.

Pikas consume this plant for food and pollinating insects visit the delicate flowers in the summer months.

Nova Scotia - Trailing arbustus (Epigaea repens)
A lovely ground-cover plant known as trailing arbustus was chosen as Nova Scotia's flower representative in 1901.

Distributed from Manitoba to the Maritimes, this evergreen woody plant favours peat-rich forests, where it creeps along the soil under pine trees, and often accompanies other acid-loving plants such as blueberries and rhododendrons.

Also referred to as mayflower, this spring bloomer showcases delightful small and sweet white flowers that attract pollinating insects and small birds and mammals that will feast on its seeds.

Nunavut - Purple saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia)
Purple saxifrage has officially represented Nunavut since 2000.

Widely distributed across Northern Canada, it can be found from Labrador to Yukon. This little cutie is one of the first spring flowers to bloom in the rocky and snowy terrain of the Arctic tundra. It looks like a small cushion of vibrant purple, is hardy, and thrives in damp, gravelly and windy places.

Purple saxifrage flowers are edible and have a sweet taste, but don't overindulge! Too many will upset your stomach.

Did you know? When its flowers are in full bloom, this represents calving time among the caribou herds of the North!

Ontario - White trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)
The white trillium was designated as the floral emblem of Ontario in 1937. A stylized version appears in the wordmark of the Government of Ontario and on the official flag of the province's French-speaking community.

As you enjoy a spring walk in the woods of southern Ontario, look down for this beautiful three-petalled white flower. This native plant is also very often seen in the lower Ottawa Valley, but don't be tempted to pick it: not only is it illegal in Ontario to pick trilliums, but this beautiful plant takes about 7 to 10 years grow large enough to flower!

Did you know? Trillium means "in threes". If you look closely, you will see that the leaves, petals and sepals appear in threes!

Prince Edward Island - Pink lady's slipper (Cypripedium acaule)
The pink lady's slipper officially became the floral representative of Prince Edward Island in 1965.

This lovely, slipper-shaped orchid is widely distributed across the country. It inhabits a variety of acid-rich environments, such as wetlands, dry and sandy coniferous forests, and some clearings.

This plant evolved a sophisticated pollination mechanism in the complex shape of its flower. Only the most persistent pollinator will find the nectar at the end of a narrow path stretched at the back of the "slipper" pouch.

It blooms in spring or summer, depending on location. You do not want to miss capturing this intricate beauty with your camera—orchids are rare and unique in our northern climate, but lady's slipper species are well adapted to be the highlight of your nature exploration!

Quebec  - Harlequin blue flag (Iris versicolor)
The harlequin blue flag is the floral emblem of Quebec, as per the Flag and Emblems of Quebec Act November 5, 1999.

This iris is native to, and abundant in, Eastern Canada's wetlands. It is the most widespread native iris, and provides nectar, pollen and a hiding spot for shoreline animals.

According to Flore du Quebec, "The flower of the Harlequin blue flag represents the cultural diversity of Quebec by the multitude of colors which it is adorned." Look for it on you next nature walk; it should be in full bloom by Quebec's provincial holiday on June 24.

Saskatchewan - Wood lily (Lilium philadelphicum)
In 1941, a native lily was chosen to represent Saskatchewan: the wood lily.

Also referred to the prairie lily, this colourful native plant can be found in open woods, grasslands and meadows, and they are distributed widely across Canada.

In June and July, bright orange-red flowers stand tall and offer their valuable nectar to many butterfly species and hummingbirds.

If you come across this beauty in an open area, get close to take a picture, but don't be tempted make a bouquet out of it because the plant cannot recover from being picked.

The bulb is edible; indigenous groups used it as a medicine to relieve pain from animal bites.

Yukon - Fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium)
Fireweed was chosen as the official floral emblem of Yukon in 1957.

During the summer months, you can find this tall purple beauty along rivers, and on the edges of mountains and roads. Its name refers to the fact that it is one the first plants to regrow in forest-fire areas, bringing a welcome and colourful new beginning.

Bees love this flower nectar, and produce a delicious golden honey. For humans, this plant is also a treat! Young shoots, leaves and flower buds are delicious and can be eaten raw. As well, infusions are often made with the leaves, which are rich in vitamins A and C. Bon appétit!

Download the complete instructions (PDF).

As a national institution, the Canadian Museum of Nature holds specimens of these natural treasures in its collections.

Make sure to share and tag your final masterpiece: #NatureFlower.