World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Canada Day


Canada Day

Canada Day
Children watch the Canada Day parade in Montreal
Also called Fête du Canada;
previously named Dominion Day
Observed by Canadians (Canada)
Type Historical, cultural, national
Celebrations Fireworks, parades, barbecues, concerts, carnivals, fairs, picnics
Date July 1
Next time July 1, 2016 (2016-07-01)
Frequency annual

Canada Day (French: Fête du Canada) is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire.[1][2][3] Originally called Dominion Day (French: Le Jour de la Confédération), the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year the Canada Act was passed. Canada Day observances take place throughout Canada as well as among Canadians internationally.


  • Commemoration 1
  • Activities 2
    • International celebrations 2.1
  • History 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Frequently referred to as "Canada's birthday", particularly in the popular press,[4][5][6] the occasion marks the joining of the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada into a federation of four provinces (the Province of Canada being divided, in the process, into Ontario and Quebec) on July 1, 1867. Canada became a kingdom in its own right on that date, called the Dominion of Canada,[n 1][8][9][10][11] but the British parliament and Cabinet kept limited rights of political control over the new country that were shed by stages over the years until the last vestiges were surrendered in 1982, when the Constitution Act patriated the Canadian constitution.[n 2]

Under the federal Holidays Act,[12] Canada Day is observed on July 1, unless that date falls on a Sunday, in which case July 2 is the statutory holiday, although celebratory events generally take place on July 1, even though it is not the legal holiday.[13] If it falls on a Saturday, any businesses normally closed that day will generally dedicate the following Monday as a day off.


The Snowbirds on Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa

Most communities across the country will host organized celebrations for Canada Day, usually outdoor public events, such as parades, carnivals, festivals, barbecues, air and maritime shows, fireworks, and free musical concerts,[14] as well as citizenship ceremonies for new citizens.[15][16] There is no standard mode of celebration for Canada Day; professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford Jennifer Welsh said of this: "Canada Day, like the country, is endlessly decentralized. There doesn't seem to be a central recipe for how to celebrate it—chalk it up to the nature of the federation."[17] However, the locus of the celebrations is the national capital, Ottawa, Ontario, where large concerts and cultural displays are held on Parliament Hill, with the governor general and prime minister typically officiating, though the monarch or another member of the Royal Family may also attend or take the governor general's place.[n 3] Smaller events are mounted in other parks around the city and in Gatineau, Quebec.

Given the federal nature of the holiday, celebrating Canada Day can be a cause of friction in the province of Quebec, where the holiday is overshadowed by Quebec's National Holiday, on June 24.[23] For example, the federal government funds Canada Day events at 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 to cease, even from federal officials.[24] 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: "The Canada of the government-funded paper flag-waving and painted faces—the 'new' Canada that is celebrated each year on what is now called 'Canada Day'—has nothing controversially Canadian about it. You could wave a different flag, and choose another face paint, and nothing would be lost."[25]

Canada Day also coincides with Quebec's Moving Day, when many fixed-lease apartment rental terms expire. The bill changing the province's moving day from May 1 to July 1 was introduced by a federalist member of the Quebec National Assembly, Jérôme Choquette in 1973,[26] in order not to affect children still in school in the month of May.[27]

International celebrations

Street hockey on Trafalgar Square, in front of the National Gallery, for Canada Day in London, England

Canadian Trafalgar Square—the location of Canada House—in London, England; originally initiated by the Canadian community, endorsed by the Canadian High Commission, and now produced by Canada Day International, the event features Canadian performers, visual artists, a street hockey tournament, among other activities.[28] In 2013, Canada Day International expanded to New York City with a similar program of food, music, and street hockey in Central Park. They also announced that they planned to expand to more cities before Canada's sesquicentennial in 2017. They are currently exploring expanding to cities such as; Hong Kong, Mumbai, Paris, and Rio de Janeiro, among others.[29]

Annual celebrations also take place in Hong Kong, entitled Canada D'eh and held on June 30 at Lan Kwai Fong, where an estimated attendance of 12,000 was reported in 2008; in Afghanistan, where members of the Canadian Forces mark the holiday at their base;[30][31] and in Mexico, at the Royal Canadian Legion in Chapala,[32] and the Canadian Club in Ajijic.[33] In China, Canada Day celebrations are held by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai at the Bund Beach.[34]

Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario, have, since the 1950s, celebrated both Dominion or Canada Day and the United States' Independence Day with the International Freedom Festival; a massive fireworks display over the Detroit River, the strait separating the two cities, is held annually with hundreds of thousands of spectators attending. A similar event occurs at the Friendship Festival, a joint celebration between Fort Erie, Ontario, and neighbouring Buffalo, New York, and towns and villages throughout Maine, New Brunswick, and Quebec come together to celebrate both anniversaries together.


Crowds on Parliament Hill celebrate Dominion Day, 1927, the diamond jubilee of Confederation

The enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which confederated Canada, was celebrated on July 1, 1867, with the ringing of the bells at the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto and "bonfires, fireworks and illuminations, excursions, military displays and musical and other entertainments", as described in contemporary accounts.[35] On June 20 of the following year, Governor General the Viscount Monck issued a royal proclamation asking for Canadians to celebrate the anniversary of Confederation,[36] However, the holiday was not established statutorily until May 15, 1879,[37] when it was designated as Dominion Day, in reference to the designation of the country as a Dominion in the British North America Act.[38] The holiday was initially not dominant in the national calendar; any celebrations were mounted by local communities and the governor general hosted a party at Rideau Hall.[35] No official celebrations were therefore held until 1917 and then none again for a further decade—the golden and diamond anniversaries of Confederation, respectively.[22]

In 1946, Philéas Côté, a Quebec member of the House of Commons, introduced a private member's bill to rename Dominion Day as Canada Day.[39] His bill was passed quickly by the House of Commons but was stalled by the Senate, which returned the bill to the Commons with the recommendation that the holiday be renamed The National Holiday of Canada, an amendment that effectively killed the bill.[40]

Beginning in 1958, the Canadian government began to orchestrate Dominion Day celebrations. That year, then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker requested that Secretary of State Ellen Fairclough put together appropriate events, with a budget of $14,000. Parliament was traditionally in session on July 1, but Fairclough persuaded Diefenbaker and the rest of the federal Cabinet to attend.[35] Official celebrations thereafter consisted usually of Trooping the Colour ceremonies on Parliament Hill in the afternoon and evening, followed by a mass band concert and fireworks display, though Fairclough, who became Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, later expanded the bills to include performing folk and ethnic groups and the day became more casual and family oriented.[35] Canada's centennial in 1967 is often seen as an important milestone in the history of Canadian patriotism and in Canada's maturing as a distinct, independent country, after which Dominion Day became more popular with average Canadians. Into the late 1960s, nationally televised, multi-cultural concerts held in Ottawa were added and the fête became known as Festival Canada. After 1980, the Canadian government began to promote celebrating Dominion Day beyond the national capital, giving grants and aid to cities across the country to help fund local activities.

Canada Day fireworks in Barrie, Ontario

Some Canadians were, by the early 1980s, informally referring to the holiday as Canada Day.[n 4] However, this practice did cause some controversy:[46] Numerous politicians, journalists, and authors, such as Robertson Davies,[47] decried the change at the time and some continue to maintain that it was illegitimate and an unnecessary break with tradition.[41] Proponents argued that the name Dominion Day was a holdover from the colonial era, an argument given some impetus by the patriation of the Canadian Constitution in 1982, and others asserted that an alternative was needed as the term does not translate well into French.[41] Conversely, these arguments were disputed by those who claimed Dominion was widely misunderstood and conservatively inclined commenters saw the change as part of a much larger attempt by Liberals to "re-brand" or re-define Canadian history.[41][47][48] 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, laden with political correctness and historical ignorance".[49]

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the official Canada Day celebration in Ottawa, 2011

The holiday was officially renamed as a result of a private member's bill that, on July 9, 1982, two years after receiving [41] With the granting of Royal Assent, the name was officially changed to Canada Day on October 27, 1982.

Lobby groups and politicians since have occasionally campaigned to have the holiday named returned to Dominion Day.[51] In 1996, Reform Party of Canada MP Stephen Harper introduced a private member's bill to reinstate the name. It was defeated.[51] In 2012, Conservative Party of Canada MP Brad Trost made a speech in the House of Commons favouring the reinstatement of the Dominion Day name.[51]

As the anniversary of Confederation, Dominion Day, and later Canada Day, was the date set for a number of important events, such as the first national radio network hookup by the Canadian National Railway (1927); the inauguration of the CBC's cross-country television broadcast, with Governor General Vincent Massey's Dominion Day speech from Parliament Hill (1958);[35] the flooding of the Saint Lawrence Seaway (1958); the first colour television transmission in Canada (1966); the inauguration of the Order of Canada (1967); and the establishment of "O Canada" as the country's national anthem (1980). Other events fell on the same day coincidentally, such as the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916—shortly after which Newfoundland recognized July 1 as Memorial Day to commemorate the Newfoundland Regiment's heavy losses during the battle[52][53]—and the enactment of the Chinese Immigration Act in 1923—leading Chinese-Canadians to refer to July 1 as Humiliation Day and boycott Dominion Day celebrations until the act was repealed in 1947.[54]

See also


  1. ^ Canadian representatives had actually requested the title Kingdom of Canada be granted, to "fix the monarchical basis of the constitution", but the idea was vetoed by the British Foreign Secretary at the time, the Lord Stanley, and the title Dominion was used in its place.[7] See Name of Canada > Adoption of Dominion.
  2. ^ Among the powers retained by the Crown in its British Council between 1867 and 1931 was the power to declare war.
  3. ^ Queen Elizabeth II was present for the official Canada Day ceremonies in Ottawa in 1990, 1992, 1997,[18] and 2010,[19] when more than 100,000 people attended the ceremonies on Parliament Hill.[20][21] The Queen also participated in celebrations of Canada's 100th anniversary on July 1, 1967.[22] Prince William and his wife took part in the events in Ottawa for Canada Day, 2011,[20] the first time a member of the Royal Family other than the monarch and her consort had done so.
  4. ^ Numerous references to the term Canada Day may be found in issues of The Globe and Mail published in the late 1970s.[41][42][43][44][45]


  1. ^ "Canada in the Making > Constitutional History > 1867–1931: Becoming a Nation". Canadiana. Retrieved June 16, 2011. 
  2. ^  
  3. ^ Moore, Christopher (2011). 1867: How the Fathers Made a Deal. McClelland & Stewart. p. 215.  
  4. ^ Panetta, Alexander; Pedwell, Terry (July 2, 2007). "An unforgettable Canada Day, eh?". Toronto Star. Retrieved May 12, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Canada Day celebrations". Toronto Star. June 29, 2007. Retrieved May 12, 2007. 
  6. ^ Canwest News Service (July 1, 2007). "Harper salutes international role in Canada Day address". National Post. Retrieved May 12, 2007. 
  7. ^ Wrong, George M.; Langton, H. H. (2009). The Chronicles of Canada: Volume VIII - The Growth of Nationality. Fireship Press. p. 60.  
  8. ^ "Heritage Saint John > Canadian Heraldry". Heritage Resources of Saint John and New Brunswick Community College. Retrieved July 3, 2009. 
  9. ^ The Royal Household. "The Queen and the Commonwealth > Queen and Canada > History and present government". Queen's Printer. Retrieved July 3, 2009. 
  10. ^  
  11. ^  
  12. ^ Canada Department of Justice (1985). "Holiday Act". Canada Department of Justice. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  13. ^ Government of Saskatchewan (June 18, 2007). "Canada Day to be observed Monday, July 2". Queen's Printer for Saskatchewan. Retrieved January 23, 2010. 
  14. ^  
  15. ^  
  16. ^ "Canadian Citizenship Oath". Robinson Sheppard Shapiro. Retrieved July 1, 2009. 
  17. ^ Allemang, John (June 28, 2008). "We stand on guard for what?". Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 1, 2009. 
  18. ^ Bousfield, Arthur; Toffoli, Garry. "Elizabeth II Queen of Canada: The Role of Queen Elizabeth II". Canadian Royal Heritage Trust. Retrieved May 31, 2008. 
  19. ^ "The Queen to address the United Nations" (Press release). Queen's Printer. January 22, 2010. Retrieved January 23, 2010. 
  20. ^ a b Campion-Smith, Bruce (February 16, 2011). "Royal newlyweds are coming to Canada, but not Toronto". Toronto Star. Retrieved February 16, 2011. 
  21. ^ "'"Queen calls Canada 'example to the world. CBC. July 1, 2010. Retrieved February 16, 2011. 
  22. ^ a b Canadian Heritage. "Canada Day Background/How we got our national holiday". Canoe. Retrieved July 1, 2009. 
  23. ^ Fedio, Chloe (June 17, 2010). "Canada Day Parade organizers bemoan lack of political support". The Gazette. Archived from the original on 21 June 2010. Retrieved July 1, 2010. 
  24. ^ Hustake, Aalan (May 25, 2008). "Proud Canadian, proud Quebecer who loved a parade". The Gazette. Retrieved May 25, 2008. 
  25. ^ Warren, David (July 1, 2007). "Sea to sea". Ottawa Citizen. 
  26. ^ Lejtenyi, Patrick. "Moving day conspiracy". Montreal Mirror. Retrieved July 1, 2009. 
  27. ^ Madigan, Tracey (June 28, 2005). "Get a Move On". CBC. Retrieved July 1, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Canada Day in London". Canada Day London. Retrieved June 27, 2012. 
  29. ^ "About Canada Day International". Canada Day International. 2013. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Afghanistan Canada Day Celebrations Video Footage Available on Website" (Press release). Queen's Printer for Canada. June 29, 2006. Retrieved July 1, 2009. 
  31. ^ "Troops refuse to let attack mar Canada Day break". CTV. July 1, 2006. Retrieved August 6, 2009. 
  32. ^ O'Connor, Joe (November 29, 2012). "As Legions shutter across Canada, veterans open a new branch in 'friendly' Mexico". National post. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Celebrate Canada Day with Your Friends". Canada Club. 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  34. ^ "The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai to Celebrate Canada’s 146th Anniversary". May 17, 2013. Retrieved May 18, 2013. 
  35. ^ a b c d e f g Levine, Allan (June 28, 2013). "The evolution of July 1". National Post. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  36. ^  
  37. ^  
  38. ^ James, Patrick; Kasoff, Mark J. (2008). Canadian Studies in the New Millennium. University of Toronto Press. p. 45.  
  39. ^ Carnegie, R.K. (April 19, 1946). "Drew Right: Provinces Have Say-So On Holidays". The Globe and Mail. p. 15. 
  40. ^ Editorial Board (August 10, 1946). "A New Low in Compromise". The Globe and Mail. p. 6. 
  41. ^ a b c d e Sibley, Robert (September 1, 2006). "'"The death of 'Dominion Day. The Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  42. ^ "Across Canada/Pro-Canada sign painter has brush with law". The Globe and Mail. November 19, 1977. p. 12. 
  43. ^ Cherry, Zena (February 20, 1978). "Protocol chiefs gather to discuss their trade". The Globe and Mail. p. 27. 
  44. ^ Stevens, Geoffrey (March 2, 1978). "With many tongues". The Globe and Mail. p. 6. 
  45. ^ Canadian Press (March 30, 1978). "Federal support for new festival". The Globe and Mail. p. 16. 
  46. ^ a b "Society > Celebrations > Celebrating Canada Day". CBC. Retrieved July 1, 2009. 
  47. ^ a b Bentley, D.M.R. (1999). "Essay 11: Parading Past". Mnemographia Canadensis 1 (Muse and Recall). Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  48. ^ "We should be celebrating Dominion Day". National Post. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  49. ^ Cohen, Andrew (2008). The Unfinished Canadian: The People We Are. McClelland & Stewart Limited. p. 90.  
  50. ^ Marleau, Robert; Montpetit, Camille (January 2000). "9. Sittings of the House". House of Commons Procedure and Practice. Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  51. ^ a b c "Dominion Day enthusiasts pine for the past". Toronto Star. July 1, 2015. 
  52. ^ Hiscock, Philip. "Society and Culture > Folklore and Traditional Culture > Custom". Memorial University of Newfoundland. Retrieved June 18, 2008. 
  53. ^ "A Living Memorial > Memorial Day". Memorial University of Newfoundland. Retrieved May 31, 2008. 
  54. ^ "CBC News > Indepth > China > Chinese Immigration". CBC. June 10, 2004. Retrieved July 1, 2009. 

External links

  • Government of Canada site on Canada Day
  • Holidays Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. H-5
  • We should be celebrating Dominion Day
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.