HISTORY OF CANADA DAY
As the U.S. will soon celebrate its Independence Day, Canadians have a celebration of their own. Canada Day (Fête du Canada) marks the anniversary of July 1, 1867, when the three independent colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, were united into a single dominion.
The British North American Act, known today as the Constitution Act officially confederated Canada on that date. While it was still a subject of the British Empire, Dominion Day, as it was initially called (or Le Jour de la Confederation in French), marked this new beginning. It was renamed to Canada Day in 1982.
Canada Day: Birthday of Canada?
Canada Day is called “the birthday of Canada” but differs from the U.S. holiday. It did not become separate from the British Empire until 1982 when it gained complete independence with the Constitution Act of 1982. And they didn’t have to fight a Revolutionary War.
Canada still enjoys its status in the British Commonwealth as a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with the British King as head of state. So they get a King and live in the New World, something the U.S. envies. We have created in his place a synthetic royalty: Hollywood movie stars.
The 1783 Treaty of Paris set the original borders, revised nearly a dozen times since. The Canadian-U.S. Border comprises 5,525 miles and touches eight provinces and 13 states. It is the longest land border between two countries in the world. Many of Canada’s major cities are arranged close to that border. Four-fifths of the population inhabits large and medium-sized cities along that southern border.
This border is mostly land but also has water borders associated with the Great Lakes. It has been called the world’s “longest undefended border.” But this is true only in the military sense; civilian law enforcement is present at border crossings.
Canada is a bilingual society, with the eastern part of the country, especially Quebec, celebrating its own grassroots National Holiday on June 24. Canada Day, however, is a federal holiday, with fireworks, parades, the ringing of church bells, the singing of “O, Canada,” and the musical ride of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, though these celebrations only became popular since the late 1950s.
Canada’s official national motto in Latin is “Paenitet me,” which, when translated into English, means “I’m sorry.”
Sorry, that was a joke.
Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian, eh?
Subscribe to have future articles delivered to your email.