Canada Day, observed on July 1 annually across Canada is Canada�s national holiday.
The day celebrates the creation of the Dominion of Canada by the British North America Act on July 1, 1867. Three British territories � the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick � were united into a federation under this Act.
The holiday was established separately by a statute in 1879, and it was originally referred to as the Dominion Day owing to the use of the term �Dominion� to describe the political union.
Canadians have long been referring �Dominion Day� as �Canada Day�, but the official declaration was made on October 27, 1982.
Ceremony And Celebrations
The first anniversary of the formation of the federation was held in a grand ceremony. The Governor General Lord Monck issued a proclamation on June 20, 1868, asking �� all Her Majesty’s loving subjects throughout Canada to join in the celebration of the anniversary of the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of Canada on July 1.�
There were no major celebrations in the following years. On the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Confederation (in 1917), the new Center Block of the Parliament Buildings was dedicated as a memorial to honor the Fathers of Confederation and the Canadian soldiers, who fought in the First World War in Europe.
The highlights of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1927 was the laying of the cornerstone of the Confederation Building on Wellington Street and the inauguration of the Carillon in the Peace Tower.
Annual observation of Canada�s national day began quite late, in 1958, with a definite format created for the first time. The format provided for an afternoon �Trooping the Colors� ceremony followed by a sunset ceremony, a mass band concert and fireworks display.
The centenary celebration in 1967 was an extensive official ceremony. With Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II gracing the occasion, the Parliament Hill again featured as the backdrop of the celebrations.
The existing format was changed in 1968; this time multicultural and professional concerts were included as part of the ceremony. The show was telecast nationally. As per this format, several artistic, cultural and sporting activities were held in different parts of the national Capital region for the entire month of July. Similar celebrations were continued until 1975. Celebrations were cancelled in 1976, but were again held in 1977.
1980 saw the introduction of a new ceremonial format, which emphasized the need for local celebrations all across Canada and the Government even acceded to give �seed money� to sponsor celebrations organized by local communities and volunteer groups.
Similar celebrations were again held in 1981 with the only difference that this year firework displays were added to the celebrations. Firework displays were organized in 15 major cities across the nation.
Canada Day Committees were set up in each province/territory in 1985. The Committees funded by the Government, were to plan, organize and coordinate the Canada Day celebrations in their localities.