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Canada Day

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


            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, which was in turn composed of four provinces. Canada Day observances take place throughout Canada as well as internationally.


            Frequently referred to as "Canada's birthday", particularly in the popular press, 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, 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.




            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.  If it falls on a Saturday, the following Monday is generally also a day off for those businesses ordinarily closed on Saturdays.





            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.


Did you know?

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


Dominion Day


Origin and special observance


Proclamation requiring celebration of July 1st:


            On June 20, 1868 a proclamation issued by the Governor General, Lord Monck, enjoined and called upon all Her Majesty's loving subjects throughout Canada to join in the celebration of the Anniversary of the formation of the Dominion of Canada on the 1st of July, 1868. This proclamation, a copy of which is attached, was published in the Canada Gazette on Saturday, June 20, 1868.


Act respecting Dominion Day, 1879:


            On May 15, 1879, Royal Assent was given to "An Act to make the first day of July a Public Holiday by the name of Dominion Day" (House of Commons Debates, 1879, Vol.II, p. 2047).


Proclamation respecting the celebration of the 50th Anniversary:


            On June 16, 1917, the Governor General, the Duke of Devonshire, issued a proclamation appointing Monday the 2nd Day of July 1917 for the special celebration of the 50thAnniversary of Confederation.


Diamond Jubilee of Confederation Act


1927-Incorporation of the National Committee:


          On February 18, 1927, Royal Assent was given to an act to incorporate a National Committee for the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation - 17 George V, Chap. 6. This Act is entitled the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation Act, 1927.

           The Committee, called the Corporation comprised about seventy persons including the Governor General and his wife, the lieutenant governors of the provinces, the Prime Minister of Canada and seven members of the Cabinet (but not the Secretary of State), the Chief Justice, several privy councillors including the former prime minister, the speakers of both Houses, the Leader of the Opposition, the premiers of all the provinces, several senators and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, the Clerk of the Privy Council, the Under Secretary of State, the Dominion Archivist, the Under Secretary of State for External Affairs and the heads of a number of organizations such as the National Council of Women, the Trades and Labour Congress, the United Farmers of Alberta, I.O.D.E., Bar Association, the National Battlefields Commission, the Canadian Legion, etc.


           The objects of the Corporation were to make and carry out necessary arrangements in cooperation with the provinces and other bodies for an effective celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the formation of the Dominion of Canada, and to administer and distribute a grant of $250,000. The affairs of the corporation were administered by an executive committee; the Secretary of State of Canada convened the first meeting of this committee.


1927 Celebration across Canada:


            The National Committee issued a booklet entitled "Order of Proceedings" for national thanksgiving by the people of Canada for Sunday, July 3, as a suggestion for local committees across Canada for a public religious ceremony at 2:30 p.m. in each local time zone under the direction of the lieutenant-governor or mayor or other senior person in the community. The Prime Minister, the Right Honourable William Lyon Mackenzie King, who was a Presbyterian, had edited this booklet; it was found to be not acceptable for Roman Catholic usage.


            The Committee issued a forty-eight page pamphlet, illustrated in colour, containing suggestions for historical pageants, floats and tableaux for the guidance bibliography of Canadian history.


1927 Ottawa Confederation:


            The National Committee organized the program of national celebration at Ottawa which began at 11:00 a.m. on Friday July 1, 1927 with the laying of the cornerstone by the Governor General of the Confederation Building at the corner of Bank and Wellington Streets, and continued with the inauguration of the Carillon in the Peace Tower, the planting of the Confederation maple trees on Parliament Hill and, in the afternoon, addresses by the Governor General, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and descendants of fathers of Confederation interspersed with public singing lead by a centenary choir and schoolchildren. There was a very large dinner given by the National Committee in the Parliament buildings in the evening of July 1 preceded by a historical pageant parade.


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