Canada’s Modest beginnings

July 1, 2015

July 1st commemorates the creation of the Canadian Federation through the North America Act which came into effect on July 1st, 1867. As early as the following year, a proclamation encouraged the people of this young country to celebrate its birthday together.

However, it wasn’t before the 50th anniversary of the Federation in 1917 that History preserved true traces of official ceremonies. On this occasion, the Parliament palace in Ottawa was dedicated to the Fathers of the Federation and to the courage of Canadians fighting in Europe during World War I (1914-1918).

In 1927, for the 60th anniversary of the Federation, other official ceremonies marked Canada Day. It is on this occasion that dignitaries placed the angular stone on the Federation building on Wellington Street and went on to inaugurate the Peace Tower in Ottawa.

Starting in 1958, the Canadian government organized festivities surrounding Canada’s national anniversary. Its events included the salute of the flag in the afternoon on Parliament Hill, an official ceremony in the evening followed by a musical military concert and fireworks display.

In 1967, during the Federation’s Centennial Celebration, many special events marked Canada Day. Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II participated in the official celebrations and Parliament Hill served as a backdrop to a large scale ceremony. Since that day, year after year, an impressive show is presented on Parliament Hill.

This concert is broadcasted across the country, from one ocean to the next. Until 1975, the main festivities took place in Ottawa and in the Nation’s Capital region. During the entire month of July, Canada Day included many cultural, artistic and sporting events.

Starting in 1980, a group was made responsible by the federal government to plan Canada Day celebrations. It began to encourage and to financially support the launch of local festivities across Canada.

On October 27, 1982, festivities marking July 1st – which until then was known as Dominion Day – officially became Canada Day. Popular activities and amateur shows were organized by groups of volunteers in hundreds of local venues across the country and fireworks brightened the night sky in 15 major cities across the country.

Today, Canada Day is an event celebrated by millions of Canadians from one ocean to the next.


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