Celebrate Canadian History with Canada Day
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Every year on July 1, Canadians come together to celebrate the historic day in 1867 when the British North America Act united Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to establish the Dominion of Canada. Originally called Dominion Day, this statutory holiday officially became known as Canada Day in 1982.
The Evolution of Canada Day
Although Canada’s Governor General, Charles Monck, called for citizens to celebrate the anniversary of this Confederation in 1868, it would be almost 100 years before Canada Day evolved into the festive pageant we know today. Here is a brief timeline of its long journey through history.
- 1879 The new holiday is called Dominion Day
- 1917 The 50th anniversary of the Confederation marks the first observation of the holiday
- 1950s Businesses begin to close for the holiday and annual celebrations start to take place across the country
- 1968 The first “Festival Canada” is broadcast from Parliament Hill to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Dominion.
- 1981 Fireworks make their debut as a Canada Day tradition
- 1982 Dominion Day is officially renamed Canada Day
- 2017 Canada will celebrate its 150th Anniversary of Confederation
July 1 is also observed as Memorial Day in Newfoundland and Labrador. Citizens commemorate soldiers of the Newfoundland Regiment who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme during World War I. For this reason, the morning of July 1 is observed in a sombre fashion across Newfoundland and Labrador with flags flown at half-mast and services held at war memorials. The afternoon, however, is dedicated to a jubilant celebration of Canada's Birth.
The Canadian Flag
The National Flag of Canada, often referred to as The Maple Leaf Flag, plays a prominent role in the celebrations of Canada Day as citizens proudly wave the national colours during parades, picnics, festivals and other activities. Many dress in red and white and even paint their faces in the national colours.
The maple leaf had historically been used as a national symbol since 1860 when the Prince of Wales paid a royal visit. But it still took hundreds of designs and years of debate before Queen Elizabeth II officially proclaimed its status as the national flag on February 15,1965. This was largely due to the many different cultural emblems that were present in our diverse population.
Celebrate Canada Day
Whether you’re new to Canada or you have maple syrup in your veins, you’ll want to take part in the many festivities taking place on Canada Day. Don your red and white and celebrate Canada’s indelible pride, diverse culture, and freedom. Check out the free Canada Day activities taking place in Alberta’s major cities on July 1st!