People who don’t know much about Canada Day might get confused at the sight of celebrations on July 1 and find themselves asking- What is Canada Day? If you find yourself in that group of people or if you generally want to expand your knowledge on Canada’s National Day, you’ve come to the right place!
Like every other former colony country in this world, a first-world developed country like Canada also has a separate day to mark its independence from the British Empire and become a self-governing dominion.
Becoming fully independent is more than just a holiday for every country & it’s the same for Canada. Canada Day, or as citizens like to call it, ‘Canada’s Birthday,’ is marked by annual celebrations of the day, including activities like pancake breakfasts, parades, hoisting the flag, fireworks displays, concerts.
Canada is located in North America and is the world’s second-largest country (by the total area). Its southern and western borders are with the United States of America, making the border the world’s longest bi-national land border. Its capital Ottawa is known as one of the top tourist locations.
Indigenous people inhabited Canada’s land until the 16th century, when the British and French explored the land. Soon it became a colony like many others. It was only in 1982 when it became a self-governing dominion by unifying four provinces.
Since then, the country has developed to become the best in every sphere like the economy, geography, education, multi-cultural, etc. With a developed present, the country still remembers its past and shows gratitude to its ancestors in its way.
Below is a comprehensive article on the ay and everything you need to know about it or, as said in French Fête du Canada.
People in the popular press often refer to Canada Day as Canada’s Birthday. ” However, the term “birthday” may be an oversimplification, as it commemorates only one significant national milestone on the path to full sovereignty, namely the joining of the colonies on July 1, 1867, Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick merged into a bigger British federation of four provinces. (Canada’s colonies) following Confederation, it was partitioned into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
Within the British Empire, Canada became a “kingdom in its own right,” known as the Dominion of Canada.
Despite being a British dominion, Canada obtained greater political autonomy and governance over its affairs, with the British parliament and Cabinet retaining political influence over some areas such as foreign affairs, national defence, and constitutional revisions.
Canada progressively achieved growing autonomy over the years, most notably with the ratification of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, until becoming wholly autonomous with the enactment of the Constitution Act, 1982, which served to patriate the Canadian constitution fully.
It is honoured on July 1 under the federal Holidays Act, unless that day comes on a Sunday, in which case July 2 is the official holiday. Even though July 1 is not a formal holiday, celebratory festivities will nevertheless occur. If it falls on a weekend, companies ordinarily closed frequently take the following Monday off.
When is Canada day 2020
It was celebrated on the same date, July 1.
What is Canada Day: History of Canada Day
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The history dates back to as early as 1862, when it became a sovereign with the passing of Canada’s Constitution Act, 1982. Great Britain enacted the British North America Act, 1867, presently referred to as the Constitution Act under which the former colonies- Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada were united to make Canada a single dominion under the British Empire.
Viscount Monck became the last governor-general of the Province of Canada and the first after the Confederation. The unification day was dated July 1, and it was considered an important day. Still, in 1879 July 1 was established as a federal statutory holiday under the name ‘Dominion Day,’ which referred to Canada as the British Dominion.
Although in 1946, a bill was introduced in the House of Commons to rename the Dominion Day holiday as ‘Canada-Day’, it was tabled due to lack of support.
Since 1958, Dominion Day public holiday celebrations have been federally organised. Starting with then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, requesting a separate fund for organising the dominion day events, which included Trooping the Color ceremonies on Parliament Hill, mass band concert and firework displays, and, later, even folk performances ethnic groups.
Dominion Day, and later Canada-Day, were the dates set for several significant events, including the first national radio network hookup by the Canadian National Railway (1927); the inauguration of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s cross-country television broadcast, with Governor General Vincent Massey’s Dominion Day speech from Parliament Hill (1958); the flooding of the Saint Lawrence Seaway (1958); and the first colour television broadcast (1980). During Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017, the
Bank of Canada issued a commemorative $10 banknote, which was scheduled to be widely accessible by Canada Day.
By the 1980s, Canadian people started referring the Dominion Day as Canada-Day (or Fête du Canada) informally, which brought back the narrative to rename Dominion Day. Accordingly, a private member’s bill, Vaudreuil MP Hal Herbert’s, was introduced in the House of Commons to rename the national holiday. With the Royal assent, the name was successfully changed to Canada-Day on October 27, 1982.
In the 21st century, the day is marked by celebrations all across the country with events organised either federally or privately and includes firework displays, volunteer work, picnics, pancake breakfasts, etc.
How Old is Canada?
Canada will turn 154 years old in 2021; it will be 155 years old.
Criticism of Canada-Day-Celebrations
Why is Canada Day bad for some? There is a lot of criticism involved in celebrating this day. With the anniversary & its local celebrations comes the horrifying past story of indigenous people who are reminded of the colonisation of their home and native land.
Indigenous peoples in Canada and non-Indigenous allies see it as a celebration of the colonialism of Indigenous land, and it has earned a bad connotation. Critics of the celebrations were especially vocal during the country’s sesquicentennial in 2017, alleging that the events ignored the role of
Indigenous peoples in the country’s history and the problems they experience now. “There’s nothing to celebrate.” And that’s the statement from many Indigenous people across Canada, which celebrates its national celebration on Thursday, only weeks after discovering hundreds of Indigenous children’s bones in unmarked graves.
Following the discovery of unmarked Indigenous children’s graves at the site of an Indian residential school in British Columbia in May and June 2021, calls for Canada-Day-celebrations to be cancelled or modified to respect truth and reconciliation increased, including discussion on social media using the hashtag “#CancelCanadaDay.”
If not already cancelled or altered due to COVID-19 restrictions, celebrations in various communities in British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Northern Saskatchewan were cancelled. At the same time, Idle No More announced its intention to organise peaceful rallies in multiple significant cities once more.
Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, indicated that she would wear an orange blouse as a mark of remembrance for the residential school system and commemorate the first National Day for Indigenous Peoples. “While there are things that we can be proud of, sure, there are things that are very horrific, and they are a part of our heritage,” NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said. When we disregard the unfairness, the ugly elements of our past, the ongoing legacy, and the consequences of those horrible things that have happened and continue to happen, we do ourselves a disservice.”
Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole told his caucus that he was “concerned that injustices in our history or present are too frequently seized upon by a tiny minority of activist voices who use it to challenge the fundamental notion of Canada itself,” and that “the idea of Canada itself is under assault.”
When is Canada Day 2021 or Dominion Day celebrated?
Since Canada’s Constitution Act came on July 1, 1982, it is observed every July 1. However, events celebrating the day are observed on July 1 only. If the date falls on a weekend, the Friday before or the following Monday, either day is declared a holiday for all public offices and workplaces.
It shows the day’s significance in people’s lives as they have spent the day celebrating the federal holiday tradition since 1958. In 2022, it is on the weekend, and the date falls on Friday.
Due to the subdued 1917 commemoration, Canada’s Diamond Jubilee festivities in 1927, marking the 60th anniversary of Confederation, increased significance. The federal government pledged $250,000 — the equivalent of $3.5 million today — to organise the country’s first national birthday celebration. The Viscount Willingdon’s governor-general unveiled the magnificent 53-bell Peace Tower carillon on Parliament Hill for the first time.
As part of the country’s first national radio broadcast, the sound was heard.
More than 30 years had elapsed before another similar event was held on Parliament Hill. The federal government agreed to finance an annual Dominion Day celebration in 1958.
The Government of Canada had decided the Canada-Day-celebrations on its 50th anniversary in a grand way in 1917. Still, the plans were shattered due to the First World War, and so the Diamond Jubilee was celebrated on July 1, 1927, the 60th anniversary of the day. It was the first time the festivities were organised federally in such a big way.
Some of the events included a simulcast radio broadcast featured by then Prime Minister Mackenzie King and a dramatic pageant that year. The communities celebrated with local conceptions like parades in Ottawa pageants in Winnipeg, which included eastern European immigrant communities.
Since the 1980s, Dominion Day-celebrations in Ottawa were still in a traditional format. Today, official Canada-Day-celebrations include formal ceremonies or official celebrations on Parliament Hill and are addressed by senior politicians, usually including the Prime Minister and Heritage Minister.
The evening activities have a much larger audience-based orientation and include firework displays and concerts starring performances from across Canada. There is always a military guard inspection from the governor-general and the national committee to plan the festivities with music and dance performances. Flyovers by Snowbirds are still a significant part of the day.
Symbols of Canada Day celebrations
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Every holiday or festival in the world has certain symbols used to make it distinctive. Most common include the Canada Flag (le Drapeau national du Canada), and unofficially it’s called the Maple Leaf or l’Unifolié. The same rule applies to celebrations of former Dominion Day.
It has 2 red rectangles with a white rectangle in the middle, which has a red image of maple leaves. Many Canadians wear red and white clothing and face paints to mark the day across the country.
How is Canada Day Celebrated?
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Traditionally, the statutory holiday of Canada Day (called Dominion Day) was officially celebrated by the government, but the statutory holiday has increased its significance with time.
People across the country & citizens abroad mark this day with various events. People decorate their house, make traditional recipes, wear red & white clothing & paint faces with those colours symbolising the Canadian flag.
There’s no statutory method to celebrate the day. Most Canadians spend their time with family & friends, go on picnics, attend concerts, participate in sporting events, watch fireworks display. Some people even organise Canadian Citizenship ceremonies, hoisting the national flag.
Celebrating Canada Day in Ottawa
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Ottawa, known for its tourist locations and Food, celebrates the holiday in the best way possible.
The statutory holiday in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, is exuberant. Being a capital, extra effort is made by the federal government to decorate public places sometimes, adding a festive mood during the holiday.
Parliament Hill has many people hoping to get a look inside at politicians, famous personalities, and sometimes royal family members. Other programs include concerts, dramatic presentations, and military displays; snowbird flying over Parliament Hill still is considered the best part of the day by many people.
Other activities by people in Ottawa that can be commonly sighted are carnivals, picnics in parks, spending time indoors with family & friends, making traditional food recipes of the day, celebrating on streets, celebrations of Canadian heritage.
Public transportations stay busy as people travel from venue to venue to celebrate the day. People are covered in red and white clothing (Canada’s national colours) or painted faces in those colours and participate in events with Canada’s flag in hand.
July 1 outside Ottawa in Canada
Toronto is not the only city buzzing with celebrations. All Provincial capitals offer a broad array of events.
In Quebec, most rental properties begin on July 1 and last for an entire year. Many Quebecers move their furniture from one place into another during the holidays.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, July 1 is also Memorial Day. People commemorate the heavy loss of life in the Newfoundland Regiment on the first day of the Battle of the Somme during World War I. The morning of July 1 is usually dull here. Flags are flown at half-mast here, unlike other provinces, and memorial services are held, but the afternoon celebrations are similar to those in the rest of the country.
Charlottetown (the provincial capital of the Island). Here the whole community supports the Canada-Day plans. Charlottetown was hosted by those named “Fathers of Confederation,” who first debated the term dominion for the country at a national convention & raised the issue of addressing the country still from its past.
The city was also called the birthplace of the Confederacy, honouring the city that stood up for the country. In Newfoundland, July 1 is Memorial Day as people remember the killings of Newfoundlanders in World War 1.
Canada D’eh, an annual celebration held on June 30 in Hong Kong, at Lan Kwai Fong, where an estimated 12,000 people attended in 2008; Canadian Forces’ events on bases in Afghanistan; Trafalgar Square outside Canada House in London, England; and in Mexico, at the Royal Canadian Legion in Chapala and the Canadian Club in Ajijic. On or near the day of the event, Canadian ex-pats would frequently arrange festivities in their local region.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai celebrates at the Bund Beach, while the Canada China Business Council celebrates at the Canadian International School in Beijing.
Canada Day Activities
Most towns will hold scheduled festivities, generally outside public activities such as parades, carnivals, festivals, barbecues, air and marine exhibitions, fireworks, and free musical concerts, as well as citizenship ceremonies.
According to Jennifer Welsh, a professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford, there is no traditional way to celebrate: “Canada-Day, like the country itself, is inextricably decentralised.
There doesn’t appear to be a centralised formula for celebrating it—blame it on the federation’s character.” However, the heart of the celebrations is the national capital, Ottawa, Ontario, where enormous concerts and cultural exhibits are hosted on Parliament Hill in a spectacle dubbed the “Noon Show.”
What does Canada Day celebrate?
Canada-Day (Fête du Canada) is a federal statutory holiday that commemorates the Canadian Confederation. Originally known as “Dominion Day,” the festival honours the amalgamation of three British colonies in North America: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada (which consisted of Ontario and Quebec).
Canada day is celebrated outside by many people other than the Canadians living abroad, including Afghanistan and China. The most famous celebration of the former Dominion Day takes place in Hong Kong, known as Canada D’eh, and is celebrated at Lam Kwai Fon.
Canada Day is also observed in China near the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, in Afghanistan (a place unexpected by many), London at Trafalgar Square, and Mexico.
Food and Celebrations
The statutory holiday is also marked by local communities feasting on traditional recipes, including pancake breakfasts, traditional desserts, cakes, etc. People also prefer to make or decorate the Food with the primary colour of red and white celebrations (Canada’s national or flag colours).
The internet is filled with delicious recipes to mark this day. Here are some links to get you to make tasty Food on this auspicious day with a click:
- Pancake recipe- https://youtu.be/NCMKedZvnyI
- Red Velvet Pancake- https://youtu.be/3hwPEDmv3Nk
- Traditional Canadian Food- https://youtu.be/U7tSGrH-wZk
Canada Day trivia
- July 1, 1857- John A. became the country’s first Prime Minister on Canada Day. Presently the post has been headed by Justin Trudeau since 2015.
- In 1967- Montreal hosted Expo 67, i.e., World Fair (World’s most successful one so far!), marking the centennial of Canada Day.
- July 1, 1980, ‘ O Canada’ was declared as the official National Anthem on Canada Day. It is a French song first performed in 1880 in Quebec City.
- The statutory holiday of July 1, 2017, marked the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada.
With this, we reach the end of the article. Wishing a red and white and a very happy Canada Day to all the people celebrating in 2022.
Thank You to all the readers. I hope this article was helpful for you. Let us know your thoughts and views or, if anything, add to this article in the comment section.
Also, read- why celebrate your holiday in Canada.
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