On July 1, 1867, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain and a federation of four provinces: Nova Scotia; New Brunswick; Ontario; and Quebec. The anniversary of this date was called Dominion Day until 1982. Since 1983, July 1 has been officially known as Canada Day.

What Do People Do?

In many towns and cities, municipal governments organize a range of events, often outdoors. These include pancake breakfasts, parades, concerts, carnivals, festivals, firework displays and citizenship ceremonies for new Canadian citizens. The celebrations often have a patriotic mood. Canada’s national flag is widely displayed and a lot of people paint their faces red and white, which are Canada’s national colors. The celebrations in Ottawa, which is Canada’s capital city, are particularly exuberant.

In the province of Quebec, many home leases start on July 1 and last for exactly one year. Hence, many people in Quebec spend Canada Day moving their possessions from one house to another. In this province, Canada Day is also known as Moving Day.

In the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, July 1 is also Memorial Day. This commemorates the heavy loss of life in the Newfoundland Regiment on the first day of the Battle of the Somme during World War I. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the morning of July 1 is usually somber. Flags are flown at half-mast and memorial services are held at cenotaphs (war memorials). In the afternoon, Canada Day celebrations in the province are similar to those in the rest of the country.

From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend state-funded Christian schools, most run by Roman Catholic missionary congregations, in a campaign to assimilate them into Canadian society.

Trudeau said many Canadians won’t be able to celebrate as the country marks its birthday on July 1.

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