This blog post was updated on June 28, 2022.
July 1st is Canada Day! And that calls for concerts, fireworks, picnics, barbecues and a great deal of celebrating. Canadians honor their birthday in style with ample revelry across the country.
In 1867, leaders from the colonies of Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick asked Queen Victoria to allow them to become one country. While the celebration used to be called Dominion Day, today Canadians get out of work for Canada Day. And as the country celebrates the anniversary of its birth, here are a few fun facts about the celebration and the country.
Canada Day Didn’t Come About Due to War
For many countries, their independence day revolves around winning a battle or a war. The root of these holidays can be somewhat gruesome, but not for Canada. Canada Day celebrates a rather peaceful plea to Queen Victoria by the Upper and Lower colonies of Canada to form their own country. Luckily, Queen Victoria obliged and Canadians have been celebrating their peaceful birthday ever since.
The Country’s Name Was a Misunderstanding
As Canadians celebrate their country on July 1st, many utter the name of the country proudly. However, Canada was really a mistake or misunderstanding on the part of explorer Jacques Cartier. When Cartier encountered the Iroquois on an expedition in 1535, they pointed out the route to the village Stadacona, which would become Quebec City. The Iroquois used the Huron-Iroquois word for “village”– “kanata” — to tell Cartier the way. The name stuck and Cartier kept using it to describe the surrounding land. By 1547, the name Canada began appearing on maps denoting the land up north.
Ottawa Boasts the Biggest Celebration
It isn’t surprising that Ottawa hosts the biggest Canada Day celebration. The nation’s capital appropriately kicks off the holiday with concerts, fireworks, and good fun. You will find the largest celebration in town on the lawns of Parliament Hill, Mary’s Hill Park, Jacques Cartier Park, and the closed streets throughout the downtown. Many revelers naturally flock to Parliament Hill, as it is the focal point of Canada Day. A stage is set up, featuring the performances of many famous Canadians. The evening concludes with a massive fireworks display.
A Birthday Sometimes Calls for a Bathtub Race
Canada Day hasn’t always been your standard celebration with barbecues and fireworks. Some towns in the country get a little quirky with their celebrations, namely the town of Nanaimo in British Columbia. The town wanted to celebrate the 100th birthday of Canada in a big way in 1967 by hosting its first bathtub race. While the World Championship Bathtub Race, part of the Nanaimo Marine Festival, has since been pushed back a few weeks after Canada Day, it still brings in people from all over the world and every type of watercraft imaginable.
So what are you waiting for? Check out some cheap flights to Toronto, or Montreal, or Ottawa, or wherever you think you’ll be able to celebrate Canada to the fullest.
Where will you be celebrating Canada Day? Let us know in the comments below!