Canada Day is an opportunity to gather in our communities, from coast to coast to coast, and to proudly celebrate all we have in common. It is an opportunity to celebrate our achievements, which were born in the audacious vision and shared values of our ancestors, and which are voiced in nearly all of the languages of the world through the contribution of new Canadians.

Canada Day is a time to celebrate the heritage passed down to us through the works of our authors, poets, artists and performers. It is a time to rejoice in the discoveries of our scientific researchers, in the success of our entrepreneurs, and to commemorate our history - a history in which each new chapter reveals itself to be more touching, more fascinating than the last.

As we look ahead, we have every reason to face the future with confidence and enthusiasm.

Canada Day - Parliament Hill

Canada Day is celebrated in grand style in the nation's capital. Every year, tens of thousands of people flock to Parliament Hill to take part in the noon show with the Prime Minister, the Governor General and the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

This year, as we celebrate the 142nd anniversary of Confederation, we will also celebrate Canada's hosting of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Let's Celebrate Canada!

As in previous years, the finalists of the National Canada Day Poster Challenge will also be present.

Canadian artists from across the country will participate in this year's noon show. There will be performances by recording artist Sarah McLachlan, singer Marie-Mai, the group The Respectables accompanied by singer Gordie Johnson, singer/songwriter/ composer Marie-Jo Thério, the electrifying percussionists Drum!, contemporary, hip hop and jazz dancer Nico Archambault, rising Canadian country star Shane Yellowbird, traditional hoop dancer Alex Wells, indi pop group Said The Whale with Hannah Georgas, Cirque Fantastic Concept, Gregory Charles with his choir as well as Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

Be thrilled by Canada's Snowbirds, CF-18s and the Golden Centennaire Tutor, cheer on the performers, and discover Canadian symbols and military traditions!

The Canada Day noon show will be broadcast live across the country on CBC/Radio-Canada, CBC Newsworld and le Réseau de l'information (RDI). You can access the Webcast between 12:00 and 1:30 (EST) on July 1 on the Canadian Heritage site as well as the National Capital Commission site, and

Canada Day - National Capital Region:

Events continue throughout the day in the National Capital Region, including an evening show on the Hill, and ending with the traditional fireworks display. For more information on the events organized by the National Capital Commission, please click on the icon below.

Celebrations across the country:

Contact the Canadian Heritage Regional Office in your province or territory for information on the eleven days of Celebrate Canada activities taking place where you live.

Did you know?

That the July 1 holiday was established by statute in 1879, under the name Dominion Day.


Canada Day

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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, nationalist
Date 1 July
Celebrations Fireworks, parades

Canada Day (French: Fête du Canada), formerly Dominion Day (French: Le Jour de la Confédération), is Canada's national day, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the 1 July 1867 enactment of the British North America Act, which united Canada as a single country of four provinces. Canada Day observances take place throughout Canada as well as internationally.


[edit] Commemoration

Frequently referred to as "Canada's birthday", particularly in the popular press,[1][2][3] 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 1 July 1867. Although Canada is regarded as having become a kingdom in its own right on that date,[4] the British Parliament 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.

[edit] History

Canada Day celebrations on Wellington Street, in front of the Château Laurier, in Ottawa.

On 20 June 1868, then Governor General The Viscount Monck issued a royal proclamation asking for Canadians to "celebrate the anniversary of the confederation."[5] However, the holiday was not established statutorily until 1879, when it was designated as Dominion Day, in reference to the designation of the country as a Dominion in the British North America Act. The holiday was initially not dominant in the national calendar; up to the early 20th century, Canadians thought themselves to be primarily British, being thus less interested in celebrating distinctly Canadian forms of patriotism. No official celebrations were therefore held until 1917 – the golden anniversary of Confederation – and then none again for a further decade.[6]

This trend declined in the post-World War II era; beginning in 1958, the Canadian government began to orchestrate Dominion Day celebrations, usually consisting of Trooping the Colour ceremonies on Parliament Hill in the afternoon and evening, followed by a mass band concert and fireworks display. 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 the celebrating of Dominion Day beyond the national capital, giving grants and aid to cities across the country to help fund local activities.

With only twelve Members of Parliament present, eight less than a quorum,[7] the private member's bill that proposed to change the name to Canada Day was passed in the House of Commons in five minutes, and without debate.[8] With the granting of Royal Assent, the name was officially changed to Canada Day on 27 October 1982, a move largely inspired by the adoption of the Canada Act, earlier in the year. Although the proposal caused some controversy,[8] many Canadians had already been informally referring to the holiday as Canada Day for a number of years before the official name change occurred.[n 1] Andrew Cohen, a former Globe and Mail and current Ottawa Citizen columnist, called Canada Day a term of "crushing banality" and criticized the change from Dominion Day "a renunciation of the past, [and] a misreading of history, laden with political correctness and historical ignorance."[13] For Cohen, the change is an example of systemic denial of Canadian history by the Canadian government.[14]

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 (temporary) national radio network hookup by the Canadian National Railway (1927), the inauguration of the CBC's cross-country television broadcast (1958), 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 the province of Newfoundland and Labrador recognized 1 July as Memorial Day to commemorate the Newfoundland Regiment's heavy losses during the battle[15][16] – 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.[17]

[edit] Activities

The Snowbirds on Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa.
Queen Elizabeth II and then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, at the official Canada Day celebration in Ottawa, 1997.

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,[18] as well as citizenship ceremonies for new citizens.[19][20] 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."[21] However, the locus of the celebrations is the national capital, Ottawa, Ontario, where large concerts, presided over by the Governor General, are held on Parliament Hill, as well as other parks around the city and in Hull, Quebec. The sovereign may also be in attendance at Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa; Queen Elizabeth II was present in 1990, 1992, and 1997.[22] The Queen also helped celebrate Canada's 100th anniversary on 1 July 1967.[6]

Given the federal nature of the holiday, celebrating the event can be a cause of friction in the province of Quebec. For example, the federal government funds events at the Old Port – an area run by a federal Crown corporation – while the parade is a grassroots effort that has been met with pressure to cease, even from federal officials.[23] The nature of the event has also been met with criticism from English Canadians, such as 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."[24]

The 1 July date of Canada Day also coincides with Quebec's traditional Moving Day. Because so many apartment rentals in the province are done on fixed-lease terms extending from 1 July to 30 June of the following year, some residents of Quebec who might otherwise attend Canada Day festivities are instead occupied by moving to new apartments. Suggestions that the move was a deliberate decision by Quebec sovereignists to discourage participation in a patriotic Canadian holiday ignore that the bill changing the province's moving day from 1 May to 1 July was introduced by a federalist member of the Quebec National Assembly, Jérôme Choquette.[25]

[edit] International celebrations

Canadian expatriates will organize Canada Day activities in their local area on or near the date of the holiday. For instance, since 30 June 2006, annual Canada Day celebrations have been held at Trafalgar Square – the location of Canada House – in London, England. Organized by the Canadian community in the United Kingdom and the Canadian High Commission, the event features Canadian performers and a demonstration of street hockey, amongst other activities.[26] Also, since 2000, the Victoria Cross bar in Sydney, Australia, is the location for official Canada Day celebrations,[citation needed] events take place in Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong, for Canada D'eh!,[citation needed] and members of the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan mark each Canada Day at their base.[27][28] Canada Day is also celebrated In Chapala, Mexico every year at the American Legion. Also, the Canadian Club in Ajijic, Mexico holds a celebration.

Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario, have, since the 1950s, celebrated Dominion Day 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, of Canada Day and Independence Day.

[edit] Exceptions

Under the federal Holidays Act, Canada Day is observed on 1 July unless that date falls on a Sunday, in which case 2 July is the statutory holiday, although celebratory events generally take place on 1 July even though it is not the legal holiday.[29] If it falls on a Saturday, the following Monday is generally also a day off for those businesses ordinarily closed on Saturdays.