Canada Day is the most important national holiday in Canada, which is solemnly celebrated throughout the country. Regardless of where you are in Canada at this time of the year - whether in Toronto or Vancouver - you've probably seen the day as something special, because Canadians, like their US neighbours, show a lot of national pride. But do you know why the day is a holiday? How is national feeling anchored in history? What does it mean for the Canadians?
Canada Day is not Independence Day
The Canada Day dates back to the British North America Act of 1867, which united the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario into the Dominion of Canada, which by no means amounted to independence as the Dominion was still part of the British Crown for purely practical reasons. After the American Civil War, they feared a threat from the northern states of the United States. London needed a strong confederation that could have opposed the US, if necessary. Before Dominion was talked about, the new Confederation should be called the Kingdom of Canada, but that would probably have provoked the Americans and that was what they wanted to prevent. Only in 1982, Canada became formally independent, which is why the holiday until then was known as Dominion Day. Since 1982 we speak of Canada Day.
Celebrations take place throughout the country
Parades, concerts, festivals, air shows, pancake food, barbecues and fireworks take place in many cities. The biggest events can be found in the capital Ottawa, where important politicians participate. The celebrations are very patriotic with the Canadian flag everywhere and happy faces painted in white and red.
The name Canada goes back to the First Nation
The name of Canada derives from the word "kanata" from the Huron-Iroquois tribe and means something like "village" or "settlement". The use of the word has been documented since the 16th century and originally referred to the first settlement that today produced the city of Quebec.
Not all holidays in Canada are in agreement
In total there are 6 national holidays in Canada, including Christmas, Easter and New Year. Each province has its own holidays, which are added to the national ones. One of them is particularly interesting, which falls on the Monday before May 25th. In all provinces, except Québec, the day commemorates Victoria Day in honour of Queen Victoria and the English Crown. In Québec, however, the French-influenced province, one celebrates the National Patriot's Day. This commemorates an uprising against the British crown of 1837.
Not all Canadians are in a celebratory mood
In Quebec, July 01 is also known as Moving Day, since most leases begin on this day and therefore many people use the holiday for a move.
In the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, on the same day, the Memorial Day takes place, where the fallen of the Battle of the Somme in World War I is remembered. The flags hang at half-mast and there are commemorative events. It's not until the evening that the joyful celebration of Canada Day begins.
Even though you might think that July 01 in Canada has a lot to do with Independence Day, you know better now. The day has little to do with independence, and the issue of country unity leaves much to be desired. And yet Canadians are proud of their identity and heritage and celebrate it every year.
Enjoy the birthday of our great country!