“Canada has an Independence Day? That’s weird.”
If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone in the states say that to me, I could probably buy a can of Diet Dr. Pepper, some Tic-Tacs and a manual carwash. Maybe a candy bar, too. Which means I’ve heard it about two times too many.
Likely, if those asking really thought about it, they’d realize that it’s not entirely uncommon for a country that is not the United States to (a) have a birthday and (b) have a birthday that does not fall on July 4. I’m quite certain that the United States is not the only country that has a date of origin.
Because I feel it’s my duty to keep my friends (and mom) informed on all things non-U.S.-related, here are some Canada Day facts. Memorize them. Take them to heart. Share them with others.
9 Things You’re About To Learn About Canada Day
- On July 1, 1868, Queen Victoria and the British government approved a plan that allowed Canada to be its own nation with its own governing body.
- That nation—consisting then of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick—would remain loyal to Britain and be called the Dominion of Canada.
- “Dominion” was in reference to the designation of the country as a Dominion in the British North America Act.
- It took a while for Canadians to jump on the “Hey, this is a day to celebrate our country’s birth” bandwagon. A LONG while. There was an official celebration in 1917, but it would take at least another seven decades or so before celebrations became the norm. That’s a lot of years to not celebrate your enthusiasm at having your own country.
- The Internet says that during Canada’s infancy, toddlerhood, childhood, teenagehood and adulthood, many Canadians considered themselves to be British, therefore having no desire to celebrate being Canadians. Sad, eh?
- Canada’s centennial arrived 1967 and planted some seeds of excitement with regard to Canadians being interested in celebrating being Canadian. Multicultural events in Ottawa (Canada’s capital), celebrating Canada’s history became yearly happenings.
- In 1980, the Canadian government began promoting the celebration of Dominion Day beyond Ottawa by providing funding to cities. For the record, anyone will celebrate anything, if you give them money and say, “Hey, celebrate this.” OK, sure!
- On October 27, 1982, Dominion Day was renamed Canada Day.
- Every July 1 (excluding July 1s that fall on weekends because everyone knows that a statutory civil holiday has to be celebrated on a weekday because people already have weekend days off from work and it wouldn’t make sense to not have another day off), Canadians celebrate the birth of their nation in ways similar to Americans celebrating the United States’ Independence Day—with cookouts and wiener roasts and s’mores and fireworks. Is there a better way to celebrate your nation’s birthday? Probably not.
And that is Canada’s birth story in a nutshell.
Happy Canada Day!
Information taken from Canadian Heritage, which claims to “be responsible for national policies and programs that promote Canadian content, foster cultural participation, active citizenship and participation in Canada’s civic life, and strengthen connections among Canadians,” and other questionable Internet sites.