Canada Day

Canada has a birthday on July 1. It’s Canada Day. People across Canada celebrate this national holiday with parades, fireworks, and other festivities.

Canada was once part of Great Britain. In time, it formed its own government. This new nation remained loyal to Britain.

On July 1, 1867, the British government approved the plan to make Canada an independent country. It was called the Dominion of Canada. The new country had only 4 provinces. Now Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories. Canada no longer calls itself a dominion, so July 1 is now Canada Day instead of its former name, Dominion Day.

The British North America Act came into effect on 1 July 1867, creating the country of Canada with its initial four provinces of Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In June 1868, Governor General Charles Stanley Monck called for a celebration of the anniversary of Confederation on 1 July 1868. While several communities did organize celebrations on this day, the legal status of Dominion Day as a public holiday was uncertain. In May 1869, a bill to make Dominion Day a public holiday was debated in the House of Commons, but it was withdrawn after several members of Parliament voiced objections. A more successful effort, sponsored by Senator Robert Carrall of British Columbia, passed through Parliament in 1879, making Dominion Day a public holiday.

In the decades following the Second World War, several private members’ and government-sponsored bills were proposed to change the name of Dominion Day, but none succeeded. In July 1982, a private member’s bill to change the name to Canada Day was proposed by Vaudreuil MP Hal Herbert. The bill quickly passed through the House of Commons, and was ratified by the Senate in the fall.

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