First of all Happy Canada Day to all Canadians.
On July 1st 2017 Canada will celebrate an incredible 150 years as an independent nation. While a country that is only 150 years old may seem like a “baby” to some, the country has achieved a lot during that time. Canada Day gives Canadians a chance to celebrate the birth of their great nation, which has risen from a small British colony to an independent country that is well-respected around the world.
So what is Canada Day about? Simply put it is the day that Canada first became a nation. Known also as “Fête du Canada” in the French speaking parts of the country, Canada Day dates back to 1867 with the British North American Act. This Act is now called the Constitution Act, 1867.
This act blended the powers of various provinces at the time (Province of Canada which was Ontario and Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia) and made them all a self-governing dominion of the British Empire. This act is what formed the confederation of Canada – or the creation of Canada. Because Britain uses a parliamentary system, Canada also adopted the same governmental structure at that point.
Since its original 1867 confederation/creation, Canada has grown in size. Its borders expanded over the years and the country now consists of three territories and 10 provinces.
Watch this amazing video of Canada’s province and territories from Destination Canada:
Because Canada was in fact a dominion when it was first created, “Canada Day” was actually called “Dominion Day” up until the year 1983.
How Did Canada Gain Independence from Britain?
One question that often comes up on Canada Day is how did Canada gain independence from Britain? While many may assume this independence happened a long time ago, in reality the Canada Act took place in 1982. It’s important to understand that Canada Day and Canada’s independence from Britain are two completely separate things, with neither impacting the other.
The Canada Act meant that the Parliament of the United Kingdom gave Canada independence and made it possible to patriate Canada’s constitution. After the Canada Act, Britain no longer was involved in the changes that were made to the Constitution of Canada, instead that was left to the Canadian federal government.
Up until that point there had been the Statute of Westminster signed in 1931 which outlined a “request and consent” provision. What this meant is that the British government was within their rights to pass laws in Canada.
Want to know more about Canada’s independence from Britain, watch this interesting video:
What Do Canadians Do On Canada Day?
The Canadian flag is one of the most recognizable flags in the world featuring two vertical red rectangles, a white square in the middle, and a red maple leaf on the white square. On Canada Day it’s typical for Canadians to deck themselves out in the signature Canadian colors of red and white, and of course sport the flag itself. Read more about Canadian flag!
No matter where you live in Canada, July 1st is always a day filled with celebrations. Each year a large amount of people flock to the country’s capital of Ottawa in order to participate in the activities on Parliament Hill. With this year being such a big celebration – 150 years – Ottawa is planning the party of all parties!
Festivities typically include Canadian musicians along with international celebrities, classic Canadian food to sample, a parade, the famed F-18 Hornets, and of course fireworks. Canadians who cannot attend the Canada celebrations in Ottawa often attend celebrations in their own town/city instead. It’s quite common to find street fairs, parades, and live entertainment even in the smaller towns. Canada Day is a family affair and all are encouraged to take part.
Some cities even give new immigrants a chance to take their Oath of Citizenship on Canada Day itself. This very special oath will have them become a full citizen of Canada, and what better day to do it!
Canada’s Contribution to the World
On July 1st when we take a moment to celebrate Canada we should note some of the great discoveries the True North Strong and Free has contributed to the world. Here’s a small look:
- Insulin: Today diabetes is a treatable disease but at the turn of the 20th century and before it, the majority of people who had diabetes did not live long. In 1921, it was Canadians Dr. Banting and his student Charles Best that discovered insulin which gave diabetics a new lease on life.
- Telephone: This is a highly contested claim to fame but Alexander Graham Bell migrated from Scotland to Canada and is attributed as the father of the telephone. Next time you make a call or send a text you can thank a Canuck for that.
- Ice Hockey: Some would argue this is one of Canada’s most well-known contributions to the world, and today the sport of ice hockey is among the most-watched in Canada. The sport was invented by Canada back in the 19th century, or 1875 to be more exact.
- Lightbulb: Most people think Thomas Edison discovered the lightbulb but it was Henry Woodward that patented the first incandescent lightbulb all the way back in 1874, a mere seven years after Canada became a country.
- Wonderbra: Louise Poirier, a French Canadian, introduced the Wonderbra in 1963 and it has become one of the most common bras worn by women. It was first developed during World War II as women needed a way to support their chest while performing work in a variety of heavy industries.
- Superman: Arguably the most popular superhero of all time, Canadian Joe Shuster came up with the look of the “Man of Steel” who was able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! The creation of Superman led to the introduction of a host of superheroes and comic books.
Want to discover more about Canada and the role of hockey in Canada? Visit our secure site https://www.geeker.com and sign up to read Leigh McAdam’s ‘Discover Canada’ and Jim Prime and Paul Henderson’s ‘How Hockey Explains Canada’ you will certainly gain more knowledge about Canada.
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And don’t forget to circle July 1st on your calendar. Whether you are a Canadian by birth or at heart, it’s a great time to celebrate the country’s freedom and all it stands for.