Happy birthday Canada! July 1st was first declared a statutory holiday in 1879
The purpose was to celebrate the country’s confederation, which happened in 1867.
However, the holiday wasn’t actively celebrated until the country’s 50th birthday, in 1917
Until that time, many Canadians still considered themselves British citizens.
Canada Day was originally called Dominion Day
It was changed in 1982, although not everyone was a fan and some felt it was “historically ignorant.” It was changed under murky circumstances, after about five minutes of debate when only 12 MPs were present in the House of Commons.
Hosted in 1958, the first federally organized celebrations were actually meant to reinforce Canada’s British values
The prime minister at the time, John Diefenbaker, wanted to celebrate Canada’s British heritage. It wasn’t until later years that Canada’s Francophone and Aboriginal history became an integral part of the party.
CBC’s first cross-country television transmission was on July 1, 1958, while the first colour television transmission in Canada was on July 1, 1966
We suspect that fireworks weren’t the only colourful display Canadians were watching those nights.
Canada Day is when thousands of new citizens become sworn in as Canadians
In 2016, 44 citizenship ceremonies will be held across the country.
Even if you were born in Canada or are already a Canadian citizen, you can still take part in a citizenship ceremony
Much like renewing wedding vows, many Canadians opt to use the July 1st holiday to reaffirm their love for our country.
O Canada became the national anthem on July 1, 1980
However, it’s been the de facto national song since 1939.
The largest Canada Day celebration in the Southern Hemisphere is hosted in Sydney, Australia
Attendees are treated to Canadian classics imported just for the party, including Montreal’s Dieu du Ciel beer, Clamato juice (for Caesars, of course), and beaver tails.
While Canada Day is a time for celebration, it marks a more sombre occasion in Newfoundland and Labrador
In the province, July 1 is also Memorial Day and the two days are celebrated concurrently.
In Quebec, Canada Day is “Moving Day”
More of a tradition than a legal requirement, this is the date when many one-year fixed term leases end in the province. Since thousands of Quebecois still honour the tradition, moving day services have to be reserved up to six months in advance.
Famous Canadians Dan Akroyd and Pamela Anderson were born on Canada Day
The latter was born during the particular auspicious year of Canada’s Centennial, in 1967.
If you want to set off fireworks, you’ll need to check with your municipality’s bylaws first
While Canada Day is one of the rare occasions that most cities and towns across Canada allow fireworks, you may still need a permit.
We spend a lot of money on Canada Day
In 2013, the Canadian government spent $6 million on celebrations across the country. Meanwhile, in 2016, they launched a $30,000 survey to evaluate Canadian’s satisfaction with the capital’s celebrations in the capital. It looks like the money was well spent—most survey respondents were “satisfied” with the celebrations.
While you may think that you know everything that you need to about Canada Day—namely, that it’s a great excuse for another long weekend at the cottage—there’s still plenty to learn about our country’s birthday.