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Canada Day facts and other fun history

Canada Day continues to be a point of pride and celebration for citizens of Canada.
Canada Day continues to be a point of pride and celebration for citizens of Canada. - 123RF Stock Photo

Many people are drawn to Canada because it offers everything from urban spaces, to snow-capped wilderness, to cities that seem to be something right out of ancient Europe. Canada has extensive forests, coastal towns and much more making up its landscape. Each year on July 1, Canadians celebrate the historical and cultural relevance of the country on Canada Day.

Canada Day is often informally referenced as Canada’s birthday. But the country existed prior to 1867, when Canada Day was established. Rather, and more accurately, Canada Day marks one of the important milestones en route to establishing the country’s independence. Although it was still considered a British colony, on July 1, 1867, Canada became “a kingdom in its own right” within the British empire, combining the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into a confederation. The Canada colony was further divided into Ontario and Quebec upon confederation. Canada Day was formerly referred to as Dominion Day (changed in 1982). In French-speaking Canada, the holiday is known as Fete du Canada.

To commemorate the celebration of Canada Day, here are some interesting facts about the day’s history as well as the country it celebrates.

-Canada Day celebrates the British North America Act, which united three colonies into a single country known as Canada.

-In 1879, a federal law was passed to make July 1 a statutory holiday, which would be called Dominion Day. On June 20, 1868, Governor General the Viscount Monck issued a royal proclamation asking for Canadians to “celebrate the anniversary of the confederation.”

-Even though it was an official holiday, excitement around Canada Day, and the large celebrations known today, didn’t begin until the 50th and 60th anniversaries of the holiday. On the 100th anniversary of Confederation, Queen Elizabeth II attended Canada Day celebrations.

-Dominion Day didn’t translate well into French, and that difficulty served as a catalyst to change the name of the day. Many Canadians had already referred to Dominion Day as Canada Day prior to the official change.

-According to Reader’s Digest, most Canadians are known for their politeness and 86 per cent believe they live in the best country in the world.

-The beaver is Canada’s national animal, and it was once proposed that a beaver appear on the redesigned Canadian flag.

-Estimates suggest there are more than two million Canadian diaspora around the world.

-2018 marks the 151st celebration of Canada Day. In 2017, the 150th anniversary, known as the sesquicentennial, was met with much fanfare and special events, including a commemorative postage stamp. While Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t in attendance, her son Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, attended the national celebration.

-Parliament Hill in Ottawa has been the central point for Canada Day celebrations for nearly a decade.

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