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Canada Day
Major holiday before thisVictoria Day
Major holiday after thisLabour Day

Canada Day 2019 and 2020

Canada Day is held on 1 July every year to celebrate the birth on the nation on that date in 1867.

Year Date Day Holiday Provinces and Territories
2019 1 Jul Mon Canada Day National
2020 1 Jul Wed Canada Day National

Canada became a new country with its own dedicated constitution on July 1st, 1867 when it signed the British North America Act, otherwise known as the Constitution Act. All of the provinces and territories in Canada celebrate its birthday, and many businesses and employers recognise the holiday as a day off.

Until the end of the 19th century, Canada largely depended on Great Britain. By 1867, however, what is now known as Canada, desired more autonomy in its government rather than living as one of Britain’s colonies. The Constitution Act joined Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec as an autonomous and self-governing region within the British Empire. Canada was not entirely independent of Great Britain until as recently as 1982 and to this day, Canada is still a part of the Commonwealth.

When the holiday first came into existence, it was not celebrated by many people because in the first years of the new constitution, many people still continued to feel as if they were British citizens. It wasn’t until 50 years later that the celebration of the holiday, then called Dominion Day, really began to become popular.

In 1967, on the Centennial anniversary of Dominion Day, the celebration started to be enjoyed nationwide as people began to consider themselves Canadians. However, the name Dominion Day continued to be unpopular. In 1982, the name of the holiday on July 1st was changed to Canada Day.

All of the cities and provinces celebrate Canada Day differently, but many people take part in fireworks and parades. Most banks, schools, and local government offices are closed on July 1st, and as a national holiday, many people get the day off from work. If the 1st falls near a weekend, it is often turned into a long weekend. The country does not shut down, and there are plenty of opportunities for shopping and dining out though they may be operating on holiday hours.

The city of Toronto celebrates Canada Day every year with a large festival that is orientated for families. The festival often includes face painting, performers and a big fireworks show for everyone to enjoy. The Canadian flag is on full display and is celebrated while the Canadian national anthem ‘O Canada!’ is sung in both English and French.

There is also a large festival celebrating Canada Day in Ottawa, the nation’s capital. On July 1st, people gather on Parliament Hill dressed in red and white- the colours of the Canadian flag. The day is filled with food, activities, games, performances and usually ends with a spectacular fireworks display. People also gather for more festivities in parks all throughout the capital in celebration of their national pride. There are many free activities for families to take part in all throughout the city, too. In Calgary, the heritage of Canada is celebrated by representing both the First Nations peoples as well as celebrating the recent immigrants to their province, such as those from China.

In Quebec, Canada Day does not have the same appeal as it does in other provinces. Public offices, schools and banks are still closed, however, the holiday is referred to as Moving Day. Many people in Quebec celebrate a French heritage rather than a British heritage and much of the population of Quebec often consider themselves to be residents of Quebec first and Canadians second.

Canadians are proud of achieving their independence and autonomy from Great Britain in 1867. All across the country, offices and banks close so that people can gather together and celebrate the things that make Canada unique.

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