Canada Day is a statutory holiday that commemorates the anniversary of the Constitution Act of 1867. The Constitution Act united three separate colonies (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada) into a self-governing dominion known as Canada on July 1, 1867. This is often considered Canada's birthday as it marks the day Canada became a country. Previously known as Dominion Day, this national day was renamed Canada Day in 1982.
Canada Day Celebrations
Under the Canadian Holidays Act, Canada Day is celebrated annually on July 1. If July 1 falls on a weekend, the closest weekday becomes the national holiday (Saturday to Friday and Sunday to Monday). Generally, all businesses and schools are closed for Canada Day. Most communities host various celebrations on Canada Day including various outdoor public events like fireworks, barbecues, festivals, carnivals, parades, free musical concerts, and maritime and air shows among others.
The main celebrations, which are officiated by the Prime Minister and the governor general or a member of the British Royal Family, are held in the nation's capital, Ottawa. These celebrations include cultural displays and huge concerts that are held on Parliament Hill. Other smaller events are held in various parks in Ottawa and around the country.
Celebrating Canada Day Around the World
Most Canadian expatriates organize numerous activities to celebrate this day in the local towns. In China, this national holiday’s celebrations are held at the Canadian-International School (Beijing) and Bund Beach. Canada D’eh is a celebration that is organized by Canadian Expatriates in Hong Kong on June 30 every year.
History of Canada Day
The enactment of the 1867 Constitution Act was celebrated by excursions, fireworks, military displays and the ringing of bells at the St James Cathedral Church on July 1, 1867. This holiday was established on May 15, 1879, as Dominion Day. Initially, Dominion Day was not a dominant holiday in the country’s calendar, and it was only celebrated by the local communities until 1917. The government started orchestrating the Dominion Day’s celebration in 1958 with Prime Minister Diefenbaker officiating the first national celebration. The holiday was renamed to "Canada Day" on October 27, 1982. However, many politicians and lobby groups have campaigned to have the holiday's name returned to Dominion Day.