July 1st, north of the U.S. border, calls for concerts, fireworks, picnics, barbecues and a great deal of celebrating. Canadians honor their birthday in style with ample revelry across the country. They are all slugging beers and waving maple leaf flags due to the British North America Act. Leaders from the colonies of Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick requested of Queen Victoria in 1867 to become one country. While it used to be called Dominion Day, today Canadians get out of work for Canada Day. And as the country celebrates being 148 years old, 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.
Canadians Celebrate a Country Name That 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, what 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. Parliament Hill naturally is where many flock, as it is the focal point of Canada Day. A stage is set up, featuring the performances of many famous Canadians. The evening concludes in Ottawa with a massive fireworks display.
A 100th 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 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.