Occasions 365

Canada Day

Celebrate Canadian nationhood on Canada Day

Canadians look forward to the annual celebration of Canada Day, which is observed each year on July 1st, or on July 2nd if July 1st happens to fall on a Sunday. The holiday is a kind of Canadian independence day, similar in many respects to the 4th of July holiday that is celebrated in the United States.

Canada Day History

Canada Day marks the anniversary of the day in July 1867 when the British North America Act formally created the Canadian federal government. This act united Upper and Lower Canada (now Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to form the country we now know as Canada. Originally called "Dominion Day," the holiday was officially renamed "Canada Day" in 1982 in an effort to minimize the colonial origins of the country.

Celebrating Canada Day

Canadians have the day off from work on Canada Day, with the exception of employees such as police, firefighters and emergency service workers. The holiday is a family day, complete with patriotic picnics, concerts, outings and celebrations. Many Canadians participate in or watch various parades, and everyone looks forward to the Canada Day fireworks. One of the largest celebrations with a spectacular fireworks display is held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the country's capital. The singing of the national anthem, "O, Canada," is another popular way to mark the holiday.

The Canadian flag, with its distinctive image of a maple leaf, is a popular sight on Canada Day. The current flag was officially instated in 1965, replacing the previous Canadian Red Ensign flag design. The Canadian Red Ensign flag featured both the Union Jack and the Coat of Arms of Canada.

Many Canadian expatriates in other countries organize Canada Day activities. Canadians in the United Kingdom hold a large celebration in London's Trafalgar Square, which features a street hockey demonstration and Canadian performers. In Australia, celebrants gather at the Victoria Cross bar in Sydney to commemorate the occasion.

Canada Day festivities in the United States take place in many cities, including Detroit, Michigan, and Buffalo, New York. Some celebrations in U.S. cities jointly commemorate Canada Day and the U.S. Independence Day.

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