Originally written on July 2021, updated 2023
Canada Day, in French Fête du Canada, is a federal statutory holiday celebrating Canadian Confederation.
Originally called “Dominion Day”, the holiday commemorates the unification of the three North American British colonies, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada (which at the time consisted of Ontario and Quebec).
Historically, it was on July 1, 1867 when the British North America Act formally joined the colonies, creating the unified, semi-independent Dominion of Canada and, basically, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain.
The enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which confederated Canada, was celebrated on that day, with the ringing of the bells at the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto and bonfires, fireworks and illuminations, excursions, military displays and musical and other entertainments.
Canada became fully independent in 1982 and thus, since 1983, July 1 has been known simply as “Canada Day.”
In any case, since 1867, Canada has grown to include six more provinces and three territories, the most recent being the territory of Nunavut in 1999.
And the country is now made up of 13 provinces and territories.
In Canada this is a public holiday, in which workers typically have the day off.
Just as the Fourth of July celebrates American independence, also Canada Day is a celebration of a united Canada and independence, even if this was more of a major milestone on country’s journey toward freedom.
On this day, the Canadian flag flies high across the country, while citizens typically celebrate with outdoor public events, such as parades, carnivals, festivals, barbecues, air and maritime shows, fireworks, and free musical concerts, as well as other patriotic activities.
The nation’s largest celebrations on this day typically occur in the country’s capital, Ottawa, right in front of the parliament building.
Often informally referred to as “Canada’s birthday”, particularly in the popular press, celebrations take place throughout the country, as well as in various locations around the world attended by Canadians living abroad.
A little bit history?
On July 1, 1867, John A. MacDonald became the first Prime Minister of Canada (the current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has served since 2015).
In 1967 Montreal hosted the World’s Fair (Expo 67), celebrating 100 years since Canadian Confederation. Interestingly, it was the most successful World’s Fair of the century.
It was on July 1, 1980 that “O Canada” became official national anthem. Originally written in French, it was first performed 100 years earlier, on June 24, 1880, in Quebec City.
Images from web – Google Research