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Canada Day celebrated with Prince William and Kate [VIDEO]

Canada Day will be more boisterous than usual in Ottawa this year. More than half a million people are expected to come out to see William and Kate, who start their North American tour in Ottawa, Thursday.

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Canada Day celebrations: Members of the Ceremonial Guard in Ottawa June 22. Britain's Prince William and his wife, Kate, will begin a North American tour in Ottawa on Thursday, and stay for the long Canada Day weekend.

Chris Wattie/Reuters

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Canada Day will be celebrated across Canada, Friday, but in the capital of Ottawa, special guests are expected to garner more attention than usual. Prince William and Kate Middleton start their 11-day whirlwind tour of Canada and the US in Ottawa, Thursday.

The holiday celebrates Canada's 144th birthday, recognizing the unification of three previously separate British colonies into what is now Canada. Celebrations in Ottawa regularly include fireworks, concerts, and a parade, but this year Ottawa expects record-breaking crowds due to the royal couple's visit.

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Last year, Queen Elizabeth visited Ottawa on Canada Day as well, but did not attract the crowds William and Kate are expected to attract this week. The increased interest in the royal couple and their visit is expected to generate proportional media coverage as well.

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Canadian Heritage minister James Moore told the CBC, "When [Queen Elizabeth] visited Canada last summer, there were 18 international journalists on the trip. On this trip, 274 international journalists are coming. It is by far the largest and most covered royal visit Canada has ever seen."

After spending the long Canada Day weekend in Ottawa, William and Kate will make their way across the country with stops in Montreal, Quebec City, Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife, and Calgary. In the US, the royal couple will stop in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara where William will play a charity polo match.

On their tour the royal couple is trying to save British taxpayers wherever possible, staying at the British consul general's residence in Los Angeles instead of lavish hotels and even flying with regular passengers on a standard British Airways flight out of Los Angeles.

Watch highlights from the Queen’s visit to Ottawa on Canada Day in 2010: