Why do Canadians Celebrate Canada Day?
When families arrive in Canada, I’m often asked what unique holidays we celebrate, and the reasons behind them. With “Canada Day” around the corner I thought I would outline the origins of this statutory holiday, as well as provide some links to information about celebrations happening in 2023!
A Short History of Canada Day
Wayyyyy back in the 1600’s Great Britain began acquiring territories in what is now Canada. In 1867 British parliament passed The British North American Act, known today as the Constitution Act of 1867, which joined four of the British colonies (now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario). This newly self-governing state within the British Empire was named “The Dominion of Canada”.
On June 20th, 1868, the Governor General, LordMonck signed a proclamation requesting all Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s subjects across Canada to celebrate on July 1st. This anniversary of confederation was called “Dominion Day” until October 27, 1982, when it was officially changed to “Canada Day.”
Canada Day is also a time for Canadians to reflect on the true history of our county, including the tragic history and treatment of Canada’s Indigenous people. September 30th marks the "National Day for Truth and Reconciliation" across Canada. I encourage you to learn more about this national day and the history of residential schools.
When is Canada Day celebrated in 2023 and what events are taking place?
Canada Day will be celebrated on Saturday July 1st, 2023. This day is an opportunity to show pride in being Canadian and in our multi-cultural country. Communities from coast-to-coast celebrate with outdoor events such as parades, festivals, concerts, barbecues, park picnics and of course fireworks. Those celebrating often carry a flag or dress in the Canadian flag colours of red and white.
On July 1st there is free admission to national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas. Many provincial parks and local museums also have free admission but before visiting check their website.
Fireworks displays can be found in local communities across your province, so be sure to check your town/city website. Larger displays will take place at Parliament Hill (Ottawa), Ashbridge’s Bay (Toronto), Old Port (Montreal), and the Halifax-Dartmouth Waterfront.
Local city/town websites are the best sources to find out what will be happening in your community and to get a schedule of events. The list below highlights the larger centers in Ontario and Nova Scotia - check them out and find somewhere to celebrate Canada Day this year in your local community!
For a full list of Canadian statutory holidays for 2023 click here.