Canada Day – Definition, History & Facts

a man with a Canadian flag

What is Canada Day?

1 July commemorates Canada’s national holiday, better known as Canada Day.

The holiday celebrates the joining of Canada’s three original provinces Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Canada province which later split into what we now know as Ontario and Quebec.

1 July 2023 will mark the 156th anniversary of Canada Day, a day when all Canadians can show pride in their country’s rich history, culture and achievements.

How is Canada Day celebrated?

Not everyone knows that Canada Day is one of the biggest celebrations across the country each year.

For the most part banks, businesses and government offices are closed for the day. Many shop owners and retailers shut their doors for the national holiday in observance of the celebrations.

Different events take place in every city, town and village across the country. The majority of events take place outdoors and include picnics, carnivals, concerts and colourful firework displays.

If you are lucky enough to experience Canada day you will notice the patriotic atmosphere that surrounds the place.

The Canadian flag is displayed on most buildings and shop windows and is draped across the shoulders of those that are celebrating the day.

Many people will dress head to toe in red and white the national colours of Canada and adults and children alike will enjoy getting their faces painted.

But in this blog post, we are going to share some fun Canada Day facts that you may not know!

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Canada Day facts

Canada Day Fireworks

  1. The National holiday is celebrated every year on the first day of July. It marks the anniversary of the confederation in 1867 when the British North America Act took effect. The act was introduced to create the country of Canada by uniting its initial three provinces Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Canadian province (now Ontario and Quebec). However, did you know that Canada did not become completely independent from England until 1982?
  2. Originally known as Dominion Day, Canada Day wasn’t officially made a public holiday until 1879. However, it wasn’t until the 50th anniversary of the confederation in 1917 when Dominion Day began to catch on and celebrations began to take off.

    Although the name Canada Day was widely used by quite a few Canadians, the new name wasn’t officially adopted until October of 1982.

  3. Ottawa, the country’s capital, is the epicentre for Canada Day celebrations. People gather on parliament hill and at Major’s Hill Park on the banks of the Ottawa River to soak in the atmosphere and join in on the festivities.

    Head to the park to grab some food from the long line of food stands, listen to live music or take a look at some of the art exhibitions. It is also a great place to catch the vibrant fireworks show.

  4. In Ottawa, at some point during the day a special dignitary addresses both the city and the nation from parliament hill with a celebratory speech. Some of the past speakers include Canadian prime ministers, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and even Queen Elizabeth II.
  5. In the province of Quebec there is less of an emphasis on Canada Day and its celebrations. The national holiday is also known as moving day in the province.

    Many of the home leases begin on the first of July in Quebec and last exactly one year. Hence, many people spend their Canada Day moving from one place to another.

  6. Before the red and white flag that we all know today was introduced, the Canadian flag consisted of the British flag in the upper left corner and a crest on the right side.

    As the country approached its 100th birthday, it was felt that a new flag was needed to reflect Canada’s independence and to distinguish itself from Britain. The Maple leaf was chosen as the maple tree is common in various parts of Canada and is a symbol of Canadian identity.

  7. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation began Cross-country television transmission on Canada Day in 1958. As well as this, coloured television was first introduced to Canada exactly nine years later on Canada day in 1967.
  8. On 24 June, 7 days before Canada Day, French Canadians celebrate Saint-Jean-Baptise Day. The day commemorates and honours French history and culture in Canada.

    The celebration is sometimes referred to as Fete Nationale du Québec. What’s more, Quebec is the only Canadian province where French is the official language.

    A memorial day is also celebrated on 1 July in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The day commemorates the loss of life in the Newfoundland Regiment during the first day of the battle of the Somme during World War I.

  9. “O Canada” officially became the national anthem of Canada on 1 July 1980.

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