This Sunday, July 1st, marks Canada’s 145th “birthday” — the anniversary of the British North American Act (BNA) which united three separate colonies (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada) into the beginning of the country we now know as Canada. Because Britain retained limited political control over the new country, the day was originally called Dominion Day or Confederation Day; it changed to Canada Day in 1982 when the Canada Act was passed and the Canadian Constitution was patriated. And how do we Canadians celebrate such a momentous occasion? With appropriate — and contagious! — enthusiasm, of course!
Across the country, Canada Day will be marked with parades, parties, barbecues, concerts and, of course, the ubiquitous fireworks. The celebrations are colourful (note the Canadian spelling there ;)), loud and, for a country noted for its low-key approach to most things, remarkably patriotic. Nowhere is this more evident than in the country’s national capital, Ottawa, where the entire city turns red and white. Flags on buildings, flags worn as capes, flags painted across faces (and the occasional bare chest!), flags stuck into drinks and restaurant sandwiches…it truly is a sight to be seen. (Or if you’re like me and not a fan of crowds, a sight to be avoided! :))
As for me, my husband and I are off to do something different this year, which also happens to mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812. A number of special events are planned to celebrate Canada’s win over our southern neighbours — sorry, U.S. friends, but it’s true 😉 — and many of them are happening within easy driving distance of Ottawa. This weekend, the Flight of the Royal George, a naval battle re-enactment, takes place along the St. Lawrence River between Bath and Kingston. With five tall ships, ten gunboats, and 24 re-enactment regiments, it looks like a lot of fun — and it should make for an interesting change from the usual party/fireworks scenario.
Though we may still try to make it back for the fireworks on Parliament Hill, because hey, it is our birthday, after all. 🙂
How about you? If you’re in Canada, how will you be celebrating this year?