Canada Day Celebrations: Why the First 12 Years Were Not Recognized

Many people see the 1st of July as being Canada Day. Others see it as Dominion Day. Some ignore it whatsoever, just like those who refuse to celebrate the country at all. Canada is 152 years old today, but no official celebration happened for the first 12 years of its existence. The official celebration of Canada is actually quite controversial. 

A history professor from the University of Guelph has studied these celebrations throughout the years. He said that the celebration has become the greatest political issue in the history of the country. It also showed the efforts to set some sort of national identity. 

Canada Day is part of a big symbol that shows what the national identity presents in front of others. It is a long controversy that has attracted interest for those who actually care. 

Why weren’t the first 12 years recognized? 

This year, it is the 140th anniversary of the public holiday that honors Confederation. The professor also notes that the festivities have exceeded from their earliest celebrations. There weren’t any celebrations for the first 12 years. And that is, because the Nova Scotia politicians felt forced into Confederation – against their will. They believe the 1st of July to be a day of lamentation. 

Dominion Day was officially declared and it was made a public holiday in 1879. When this happened, the objections of a faction from British Colombia have been aggravated by the failure to complete the country railroad. The earliest meetings were actually grassroots affairs, and the government did nothing for the festivities. This sitatuion kept going until 1958, when the prime minister from then, John Diefenbaker made a decision: Ottawa should take part in the nation’s birthday. 

The name Dominion Day started to fade away, and it was replaced with one that reflects better Canada’s growing autonomy from the British Government.  


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Meagan Kozlovs

About the Author: Meagan Kozlovs

Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto  and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.

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