Next weekend heralds the 151st birthday of Canada. Having travelled across this beautiful country by vehicle many times in my life I thought I was fairly well versed in the history of Canada Day but I might be mistaken. Canadians across the country and around the world show their pride in their history, culture and achievements. It’s been a day of celebration, where many festivities are held across the country, since 1868. Here are the facts about the creation of Canada Day:
- July 1, 1867: The British North America Act (today known as the Constitution Act, 1867) created Canada.
- June 20, 1868: Governor General Lord Monck signs a proclamation that requests all Her Majesty’s subjects across Canada to celebrate July 1.
- 1879: A federal law makes July 1 a statutory holiday as the “anniversary of Confederation,” which is later called “Dominion Day.”
- October 27, 1982: July 1, “Dominion Day” officially becomes Canada Day.
- July 1, 1917: The 50th anniversary of Confederation. The Parliament buildings, under construction, are dedicated to the Fathers of Confederation and to the courage of Canadians who fought in Europe during the First World War.
- July 1, 1927: The 60th anniversary of Confederation. The Peace Tower Carillon is inaugurated. The Governor General at the time, Viscount Willingdon, lays the cornerstone of the Confederation Building on Wellington Street.
- From 1958 to 1968: The government organizes celebrations for Canada’s national holiday every year. A typical format includes a flag ceremony in the afternoon on the lawns of Parliament Hill and a sunset ceremony in the evenings, followed by a concert of military music and fireworks.
- July 1, 1967: The 100th anniversary of Confederation. Parliament Hill is the backdrop for a high-profile ceremony, which includes Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
- From 1968 to 1979: A large multicultural celebration is presented on Parliament Hill. This concert is broadcast on television across the country. These celebrations include many cultural, artistic and sport activities and involve the participation of various municipalities and volunteer associations.
- From 1980 to 1983: A new format is developed. In addition to the festivities on Parliament Hill, the national committee starts to encourage and financially support the establishment of local celebrations across Canada. Start-up funding is provided to support popular activities and performances organized by volunteer groups in hundreds of communities.
- 1981: Fireworks light up the sky in 15 major Canadian cities, a tradition that continues today.
- 1984: The National Capital Commission (NCC) is given the mandate to organize Canada Day festivities in the capital.
- 2010: Festivities on Parliament Hill receive a royal treatment when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh join the festivities to celebrate Canada’s 143rd anniversary.
- 2011: Their Royal Highnesses Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, participate in Canada Day festivities on Parliament Hill on the occasion of Canada’s 144th anniversary.
- 2014: Canadian Heritage organizes the 147th Canada Day celebrations. As we approach Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017, the government has given the Department the mandate to organize Canada Day festivities in the capital.
- 2017: Canada Day 150! From Coast to Coast to Coast: hosted by Rick Mercer from Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the three-hour special featured performances from every province and territory from some of Canada’s favourite musicians and performers. There was a Royal Visit to Ottawa by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and fireworks beyond compare!
- 2018: Happy 151st Canada! Don some red and white, wave your flag and celebrate this wonderful country of ours.
Information in this column is compiled by Shell-Lee Wert- Executive Director of CCSH, 470 Dundas Street East, Unit 63, Belleville, K8N 1G1. Please visit our website at https://www.ccsh.ca, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our CCSH Facebook page, or call 613-969-0130 or 613-396-6591 for information and assistance. CCSH is a proud United Way member agency. Funding in part from the South East Local Health Integration Network