On July 1, Canadians across the country will put on their best red and white clothes and head out for a fun day of eating Canadian food, enjoying classic Canadian festivities, and celebrating Canada Day. If you’ve wondered how Canada Day originated and how people across the country celebrate it, read more below to discover everything you need to know about Canada Day celebrations.
A Brief History of Canada Day
On July 1, 1867, the British North America Act, today called the Constitution Act, united the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario to create the country of Canada. The following year, on June 20, Governor General Sir Charles Stanley (Lord) Monck signed a proclamation requesting all Her Majesty’s subjects across the country to celebrate on July 1. In 1879, a federal law made July 1 a holiday called the “anniversary of Confederation.” This holiday was later changed to Dominion Day. Finally, on October 27, 1982, Dominion Day officially became Canada Day.
As the capital of Canada, you know that Ottawa puts together an excellent Canada Day celebration. In fact, the city doesn’t limit the fun to one day only. Instead, Ottawa celebrates over multiple days. Although festivities take place across the city, the three main event sites are Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park, and the Canadian Museum of History. You’ll be able to enjoy live entertainment, family-friendly activities, concerts, workshops, and more. The city also puts together a spectacular fireworks show to cap off the day.
Toronto is the largest city in Canada, and it offers plenty of exciting activities to enjoy at different parks on Canada Day. You can walk to Mel Lastman Square for live music, good food, unique art, fireworks, and fun for the family. Amesbury Park has multicultural entertainment, children’s activities, and many vendors available. Or you can go to Stan Wadlow Park to watch the annual Canada Day Parade before you enjoy the carnival rides and food vendors.
Canada Day celebrations in Edmonton start bright and early with the free Canada Day Pancake Breakfast. You can visit the Muttart Conservatory to listen to music by Peter and Mary, savour a patriotically decorated miniature cupcake, watch a fascinating wood carving demonstration, and more. You can also take advantage of the free admission offered at the Art Gallery of Alberta and the city pools and spray parks. The city ends the day with an incredible fireworks show that you can watch from a boat on the river.
Canada Day activities in Montreal range from the formal to the lighthearted. A 21-gun salute officially opens the sports activities, inflatable games, themed tents, and picnic area. As you stroll through the tents, you’ll discover a juggling workshop, street hockey games, dancing sessions, photo booths, and more. You can stop by the formal stage to watch the raising of the Canadian flag and swearing-in ceremony for new Canadians. Then visit the All United tent to get a piece of the traditional Canada Day anniversary cake.
Vancouver, British Columbia
On the western coast of Canada, Vancouver knows how to have a good time celebrating Canada Day. At Granville Island, you can watch the Canada Day Parade, try some of the tasty food options from food trucks and restaurants, enjoy listening to live music, check out the entertaining performers, and explore a multicultural fair. Canada Place in downtown Vancouver has some of the largest Canada Day celebrations, including live music, street hockey, a lumberjack show, and circus show. To finish the day, make sure you get a prime viewing spot to see the Burrard Inlet fireworks show.
Canada Day in Regina takes on a sportier feel. You can start the day with the Regina Canada Day Fun Run & Walk. When you’re done, watch in wonder as the top 12 strength athletes from Western Canada go through a gruelling course to compete for the title of Western Canada’s Strongest Man. Or you can experience the fun at the Plywood Cup. During this amusing event, teams of four build a boat using a limited amount of materials and time before having one team member race the boat across Wascana Lake.
Calgary has something for everyone to enjoy during its Canada Day celebrations. At the Eau Claire Market, you’ll find a petting zoo, face painting, local entertainment, artisans market, and free ice cream. You can also enjoy live music on Stephen Avenue, a street fair in the East Village, and plenty of family-friendly activities at Fort Calgary. The day ends with a fireworks show from the Centre Street Bridge that lights up the beautiful Calgary skyline.
No matter what part of the country you live in, you can find plenty of outstanding activities to pay tribute to everything that’s great about Canada during Canada Day celebrations.