Here in the United States, where CAI is headquartered, we are gearing up to celebrate the nation’s Independence Day on July 4th. Fireworks, family and friends, and good food will abound to recognize the time long ago, in 1776, when our nation declared its sovereign independence. But located just north of us stands our neighbor and ally, Canada, and they have their own special holiday coming up, Canada Day.
Canada has received a heavy amount of recognition as of late. USA presidential elections cause increased interest in Canada, and the new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, seems to be a rising cultural icon. But despite the fluctuating attention, Canada has always held onto its unique identity, a culture that does not define itself by being part of the West, but instead embraces both its roots and its evolution in the global landscape.
On July 1st in 1867 Canada formed as a nation, joining together Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada province (which would later become Ontario and Quebec.) The day was originally celebrated at the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto and later on the day became an official holiday in 1879. The day itself went through progressive changes, originally being hailed as “Dominion day” until finally becoming simply “Canada day” in 1982. The meaning and substance has not really changed—Canada achieved her sovereignty peaceably and Canada day encompasses all those who want to live together in that peace.
Today, Canadians celebrate the day much in the same way the US does July 4th, including the expected fare of parades (including appearances by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police), fireworks, national pride, food (Timbits, anyone?), and references to traditional and authentic Canadian culture as well the expanded culture because Canada’s multinational society.
Some things to know before you join the Canada Day festivities:
-Why not wear something Red, White, and Maple? The Canadian flag is easy to follow in style and pattern, and a little goes a long way in showing support.
-As Ottawa is the capital of Canada (not Vancouver or Toronto, contrary to popular belief) it’s generally seen as the best place to celebrate Canada day. However, we’re pretty sure no matter where you go you’ll have a good time.
-That being said, some cities in the USA celebrate Canada day too…
-Learn the words to the anthem (in both of their official languages.)
We’re sure this isn’t an exhaustive list. Are you in Canada and gearing up for the big day? If so, tell us about how you celebrate!