Canada Day Celebration of the Constitution Act 1867

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Canada Day History

It’s almost time to light the candles for Canada’s 146th birthday!

canada-day-flagCanada Day occurs on July 1st, the anniversary of Canada’s confederation. Canadians commemorate the day with parades, fireworks, cookouts, and concerts. The popularity of the holiday has been on the incline since the late 1960’s and has since become a nationwide celebration.

Formerly known as “Dominion Day,” Canada Day marks the anniversary of the Constitution Act of 1867, joining Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Canada province (now Ontario and Quebec) into a single country. The Constitution Act granted Canada a substantial amount of independence from England, although complete independence was not given until 1982. Prior to 1900, there was little Canadian nationalism as many Canadians regarded themselves as British citizens. The first official celebration was held in 1917 to honor Canada’s 50th birthday. It was not until 1946 that Phileas Cote, a member of the Quebec House of Commons, sent a private member’s bill to rename Dominion Day as Canada Day. The Senate responded by recommending the holiday be named the “National Holiday of Canada.” Since no one could agree on the name, the bill was defeated.

The government first recognized Canada Day in 1958 by holding a trooping of the color on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Canada’s centennial marked the first widespread celebration in 1967. The event promoted nationalism and Canadian pride. The holiday continued to grow in the late 1960’s and many Canada Day events were televised and broadcast throughout the country. In the 1980’s, the government began funding Canada Day activities in smaller communities. The holiday was finally made official by a unanimous vote on October 27, 1982; the same year that the Canada Act was passed, removing any remaining dependence of Canada on the United Kingdom. While the public had recognized the holiday for decades, this marked a significant change in the magnitude of the celebrations.

In addition to independence from the United Kingdom, Canada Day also marks a number of revolutionary breakthroughs and significant events. The first national radio hookup was initiated by the Canadian National Railway on July 1, 1927. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) held their first cross-country broadcast on Canada Day in 1958. The first color television transmission in Canada was held on July 1st of 1966. In 1967, the Order of Canada was inaugurated. “O Canada” was also named the official national anthem on Canada Day, 1980.

Barrie_Canada_Day_FireworksCanada Day 2011 is recognized with parades, fireworks, carnivals, outdoor concerts, and festivals. Many Canadians also engage in popular outdoor activities like sports, barbecues, and trips to the beach. The biggest celebration is held in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario. Events are held in museums and parks across the city. Onlookers can find historical presentations, live music, children’s activities, and sports games throughout the day of July 1st. The festival ends with a grand finale of fireworks over Parliament Hill. The Queen of England is often in attendance. Canada Day is celebrated in conjunction with the United States’ Independence Day during the International Freedom Festival. Fireworks are shot off over the Detroit River, and residents of Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario come together in joint-celebration.

Every year on July 1st, we celebrate Canada Day. On that date in 1867, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada were united into a single country. This union was a result of the Constitution Act which granted Canada a great deal of independence from England. Over the course of a century, Canada gradually shed its dependence on the United Kingdom. It did not become fully independent until 1982, the same year that Canada Day became an official holiday.

Canada Day took decades to catch on due to the fact that many early Canadians identified themselves as British. It was not until Canada’s “golden” anniversary in 1917 (50 years), that an official celebration was recorded. The next set of Canada Day festivities did not occur until ten years later, in 1927. The government’s first recognition of the holiday occurred in 1958 with a trooping of the color on Parliament Hill.

The first country-wide celebration was in 1967, Canada’s 100th anniversary. From that point on, Canada Day grew and evolved to become the widespread commercial holiday it is today.

 
canada-day-fireworksToday, Canada Day is celebrated with fireworks, concerts, cookouts, and sports games.

Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario, hosts the most holiday activities.

There are countless events, activities, and festivals to be found throughout the city in the city streets, parks,and museums.

Fireworks are launched from Parliament Hill to conclude a day of patriotic festivities.

 

 

Canada Day Activities

It is no coincidence that Canada Day is celebrated during one of the warmest months of the year. Whether you spend the day in the sun or participating in your favorite Canadian event, you must plan the perfect activity for this holiday. We have come up with a list of unique indoor and outdoor activities geared to celebrating our heritage and summer.

  • Go to the beach. Use the holiday as an excuse to bake in the sun, enjoy the warm weather and cool water.
  • Go to the park, fly a kite or walk your dog. Most Canadians spend this holiday outdoors so you will be able to take advantage of the summer heat and maybe make a new friend.
  • Have your family and friends over for an old fashioned barbecue. Sip on Labatt Blue beer and appreciate what it means to be Canadian.
  • Go to your towns local parade. Show your pride by dressing up in all red and white, you will get extra points from your friends if face paint is involved.
  • Go to a carnival. Eat fried dough, snack on cotton candy, drink beer, go on all of your favorite rides and play all the games.
  • Look up local concerts in your area. Many cities and towns hold festivals where bands will play music at outdoor venues.
  • Lounge by the pool and read a good book. Maybe have a nice cold ice cream and enjoy the weather.
  • Go for a ride in a hot air balloon. This fun activity lets you admire our beautiful country from thousands of feet in the air.
  • Go to your local brewery. Canadians love beer, so there is no better way to celebrate our birthday than to take a tour of your favorite brewery. Many of these tours are free and come with samples.
  • Go camping. Take a couple days off of work and enjoy everything that the Canadian wilderness has to offer.
  • There is nothing more Canadian than hockey. Visit the Hockey Hall of Fame. Take an exhibit tour and honor your favorite players.
  • Go to a citizenship ceremony. There is nothing more patriotic than watching new citizens take an oath to love honor and respect our country.
  • Go to your local fireworks show. There is nothing more beautiful and patriotic than watching the colorful explosions light up the sky.
  • Go fishing. Canada is famous for their awesome bass fishing and this is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and celebrate Canada.
  • Go on a bear watch. This unique activity allow you to get up close and personal with grizzly bears in their natural habitat.
  • Go white water rafting. Canada’s rivers offer a variety of different difficulty levels so whether your a rafting pro or a rookie in search of an adventure rafting is always a fun activity.

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