Canada Day is coming up, and it’s what it sounds like: a federal holiday to celebrate the country and show off national pride.
When is it?
July 1 is Canada Day. However, because that date falls on a Sunday this year, many Canadians will take off from work on Monday, July 2.
How did it start?
July 1 commemorates the joining of Canada’s original three provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Canada province, which is now Ontario and Quebec) as one nation in 1867. The holiday was previously called Dominion Day, for the Dominion of Canada in the British empire.
Events start early in the morning and go until the evening. They include parades, barbecues, fireworks displays, concerts, and also welcome ceremonies for those who recently became citizens. Members of the British government have also celebrated the holiday. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip attended the celebration in the capital, Ottawa, in 2010, and Prince William and his wife, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, attended in 2011.
Why is Canada’s flag a maple leaf?
The Canadian land was handed over to Britain after France lost much of it after the French and Indian War in the 1700s. The territory flew the British flag until it was agreed it needed its own flag, so the British flag was minimized to the upper left corner and a crest was added on the right side.
However, it was felt another flag was needed to better reflect the country’s self-governance. The search became more focused in the 1960s as the country approached its 100th birthday. The maple tree is common in various parts of Canada, and the leaf made for a good symbol because of its bright color and symmetry.
A quirk surrounding the holiday
In predominantly French-speaking Quebec, the holiday is celebrated alongside Moving Day, a totally inconvenient day when many leases end or begin and residents are relocating.
This piece was originally published on Canada Day in 2018.