Canada Day, What is Canada Day (History and Activities)


Canada Day is the national day of Canada. A federal holiday celebrates the anniversary of July 1, 1867, entering into force the Constitution Act of 1867 (then called the British Law of North America, 1867).

Which united the three separate colonies of the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in a single Domain within the British Empire called Canada. Originally called Dominion Day (in French: Le Jour de la Conf茅d茅ration), the party changed its name in 1982, the year in which the Canadian Law was passed. Canada Day celebrations take place throughout the country, as well as in various parts of the world, attended by Canadians living abroad.


Although Canada existed before 1867, both in the French and British empires, Canada Day is often informally known as the “birthday of Canada,” particularly in the popular press. However, the term “birthday” can be seen as an oversimplification, since Canada Day is the anniversary of a single major national milestone on the road to total country independence, meaning the union on July 1 1867 of the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in a wider British federation of four provinces (the colony of Canada is divided into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in the Confederation).

Canada Day - What is Canada Day (History and Activities)

Canada became a “kingdom in its own right” within the British Empire called the Dominion of Canada. Although it is still a British colony, Canada gained a greater level of political control and government over its own affairs, the parliament and the British cabinet maintain political control over certain areas, such as foreign affairs, national defense and constitutional changes. Canada gradually gained increasing independence over the years, notably with the approval of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, until it finally became completely independent with the passage of the Constitution Act of 1982 which served to fully sponsor the Canadian constitution.


In accordance with the federal Holiday Act, Canada Day is celebrated on July 1, unless that date coincides with a Sunday, in which case July 2 is the official holiday. Celebration events will usually still be held on July 1, even though it is not the legal holiday. If it is a Saturday, any company normally closed that day will usually dedicate the following Monday (July 3) as a free day.


Most communities across the country will organize organized celebrations for Canada Day, typically open-air public events, such as parades, carnivals, festivals, barbecues, air and sea shows, fireworks and free music concerts, as well as entertainment ceremonies. citizenship. There is no standard mode of celebration for Canada Day; Jennifer Welsh, Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford, said: “Canada Day, like the country, is infinitely decentralized, there does not seem to be a central recipe for how to celebrate it: state the nature of the federation” . However, the venue is the national capital, Ottawa, Ontario, where large concerts and cultural exhibitions are held in Parliament Hill, with the governor-general and the prime minister exercising normally, although the monarch or another member of the royal family also they can attend or take the place of the governor general. Smaller events are mounted in other parks around the city and in neighboring Gatineau, Quebec.

Given the federal nature of the anniversary, celebrating Canada Day can be a cause of friction in the province of Quebec, where Quebec’s national holiday is overshadowed on June 24. For example, the federal government funds Canada Day events in the Old Port of Montreal, an area run by a federal Crown corporation, while the national holiday parade is a grassroots effort that has been met with pressure from cease, even from federal officials. The nature of the event has also been met with criticism outside of Quebec, such as that given by Ottawa Citizen columnist David Warren, who said in 2007: “Canada’s government-funded paper waving the flag and painting faces: the ‘new “Canada, which is held every year in what is now called Canada Day, has nothing controversial in Canada: you could wave a different flag and choose another face painting, and nothing would be lost.”

Canada Day also coincides with Quebec Moving Day, when many rental terms for fixed rental apartments expire. The bill that changes the day of the move from the province from May 1 to July 1 was presented by a federalist member of the National Assembly of Quebec, J茅r么me Choquette, in 1973, so as not to affect the children who are still at school in the month of May.

International celebrations

Canadian expatriates will often organize Canada Day activities in their local area on or near the vacation date. Examples include Canada D’eh, an annual celebration that takes place on June 30 in Hong Kong, in Lan Kwai Fong, where an estimated attendance of 12,000 was reported in 2008; The events of the Canadian Forces in bases in Afghanistan; and in Mexico, in the Royal Canadian Legion in Chapala, and in the Canadian Club in Ajijic. In China, Canada Day celebrations are held at the Bund Beach by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the International School of Canada in Beijing by the China Business Council of Canada.


The enactment of the British North America Act of 1867 (now called the Constitution Act, 1867), which confederated in Canada, was held on July 1, 1867, with the bell ringing at St. James Cathedral in Toronto and “bonfires, fireworks and illuminations, excursions, military exhibitions and musical and other entertainment”, as described in contemporary stories. On June 20 of the following year, the Governor General, Viscount Monck, issued a royal proclamation asking Canadians to celebrate the anniversary of the confederation. However, the holiday was not established statutorily until May 15, 1879, when it was designated as the domain day. to the reference in the British Law of North America to the country as a domain. Vacations initially were not dominant in the national calendar; any celebration was set up by the local communities and the governor general organized a party at Rideau Hall. No larger celebrations were held until 1917 and then no more for another decade: the Confederation’s gold and diamond anniversaries, respectively.

In 1946, Phil茅as C么t茅, a Quebec member of the House of Commons, introduced a bill by a private member to change the name of Dominion Day as Canada Day. The bill was approved quickly by the lower house, but was suspended by the Senate, which returned it to the Commons with the recommendation that the holiday be renamed the National Holiday of Canada, an amendment that effectively eliminated the bill.


Beginning in 1958, the Canadian government began organizing Dominion Day celebrations. That year, then-Prime Minister John Diefenbaker requested that Secretary of State Ellen Fairclough prepare the appropriate events, with a budget of $ 14,000. Parliament was traditionally in session on July 1, but Fairclough convinced Diefenbaker and the rest of the federal cabinet to attend. The official celebrations thereafter consisted usually of Trooping the Color ceremonies on Parliament Hill in the afternoon and evening, followed by a mass band concert and a fireworks display. Fairclough, who became Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, later expanded the bills to include representation of folk and ethnic groups.

The day also became more informal and familiar. Canada’s centennial in 1967 is often seen as an important milestone in the history of Canadian nationalism and in the maturation of Canada as an independent and distinct country, after which Dominion Day became more popular among average Canadians. In the late 1960s, televised nationally multicultural concerts held in Ottawa were added and the party became known as the Canada Festival. After 1980, the Canadian government began promoting the celebration of Dominion Day beyond the national capital, granting grants and assistance to cities across the country to help fund local activities.

Some Canadians, in the early 1980s, informally referred to the holiday as Canada Day, a practice that caused some controversy: the defenders argued that the name of Dominion Day was a vestige of the colonial era, an argument given impetus for the motherland The Canadian Constitution in 1982, and others claimed that an alternative was needed since the term does not translate well into French. On the contrary, numerous politicians, journalists and authors, such as Robertson Davies, denounced the change at the time and some continue to maintain that it was illegitimate and an unnecessary break with tradition.

Others claimed that Dominion was widely misunderstood and that commentators with conservative leanings saw the change as part of a much larger attempt by liberals to “change the brand” or redefine Canadian history. Columnist Andrew Cohen called Canada Day a term of “crushing banality” and criticized it as “a renunciation of the past [and]a misreading of history, charged with political correctness and historical ignorance.”

The party was officially renamed as a result of a bill by a private member that was passed through the House of Commons on July 9, 1982, two years after its first reading. Only 12 members of Parliament were present when the bill was resumed, eight less than the necessary quorum; however, according to parliamentary rules, a quorum is required only at the beginning of a session or when a member draws attention. The group approved the bill in five minutes, without debate, which inspired “grunts about the clandestine process”. He met with stronger resistance in the Senate. Ernest Manning argued that the reason for the change was based on an erroneous perception of the name and George McIlraith did not agree with the way in which the bill was passed, urging the government to proceed in a more “dignified” manner. However, the Senate finally approved the bill, independently. With the Royal Assent grant, the name of the party was officially changed to Canada Day on October 27, 1982.

Since then, pressure groups and politicians have occasionally campaigned for a return to Dominion Day. In 1996, Stephen Harper, member of the Reform Party of Canada, presented the invoice of a private member to reestablish the name. He was defeated. In 2012, Conservative MP Brad Trost delivered a speech in the House of Commons in which he advocated the restitution of the Domain Day name.

Like the anniversary of the Confederation, the Day of the Dominion and later the Day of Canada, it was the date established for a series of important events, like the first connection of the national radio network of the Canadian National Railway (1927); the inauguration of the transnational television broadcast of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, with the speech Dominion Day by Governor Vincent Massey of Parliament Hill (1958); the flooding of the seaway of San Lorenzo (1958); the first color television broadcast in Canada (1966); the inauguration of the Order of Canada (1967); and the establishment of “O Canad谩” as the national anthem of the country (1980). Other events occurred on the same day coincidentally, such as the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, shortly after Newfoundland recognized July 1 as Memorial Day to commemorate the heavy losses of the Newfoundland Regiment during the battle, and the enactment of the Immigration Law in 1923: the main Chinese-Canadians refer to July 1 as Day of Humiliation and boycott the Day of the Domain celebrations until the act was repealed in 1947.

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