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Happy Canada Day 5 things to celebrate
Canada turns 155 years old in 2022!

July 1

Every year, on July 1, Canadians celebrate Canada Day. Canada Day marks the anniversary of when Canada became a country. July 1, 2022, will mark Canada’s 155th birthday! In these 155 years, Canada has come a long way. Every event that occurred between then and now has shaped Canada into what it is today. Canada has achieved some incredible things while also learning from its mistakes along the way. 

Today, Canada Day is about celebrating all the challenges Canadians have overcome together. Furthermore, it is about promising to strive for a better future. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s about how we fix those mistakes that matter. While Canada Day can be full of fun activities and events, let us not forget what Canada Day stands for. To be Canadian means to accept the past and strive for a better future. And that is exactly what Canada Day represents.

The History Behind July 1

It is hard to imagine a world without Canada. However, that was the case just two centuries ago. Instead of a united Canada, there were just a couple of British colonies and a vast amount of land owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The leaders of that time started to realize that it might be better to unite into one country rather than face external threats alone. Leaders such as Sir John A. Macdonald, George Brown, and Sir George-Étienne Cartier all got together to discuss the idea of a possible union.

Ultimately, four British colonies decided to unite in what became known as Confederation. We now also know this event as Dominion day. Confederation saw the British colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada (Quebec and Ontario) come together and merge to form the Dominion of Canada. The day that the provinces formally united was July 1, 1867. Every year, we celebrate the anniversary of confederation or, “Dominion Day”, on July 1st.

Although Confederation first started with just four provinces, many more joined Canada after 1867. The last province to join Canada was Newfoundland and Labrador, which entered in 1949. Canada Day, as we know it today, became complete on April 1, 1999, when Nunavut joined Canada as a territory.

Canada Day is Born

Before 1983, the holiday was not even called Canada Day. After Confederation, Canadians used to celebrate the “anniversary of Confederation”, which was also called Dominion Day. It wasn’t until Canada got its full independence from Britain in 1982 that the name of the holiday changed to Canada Day. The following year, Canadians celebrated the first-ever “Canada Day” on July 1, 1983.

Canada Day Today

While Canada Day started off as a small and modest holiday, it has evolved into something truly magnificent. Today in 2022, Canada Day is one of the most beloved holidays in the country. No matter where you are in Canada, there are sure to be multiple celebrations happening around you.

Canada Day celebrations consist of fireworks, parades, parties, and much more. One of the most recognizable events on Canada Day is the Canada Day Festival. Each year, in every part of the country, Canada hosts large festivals to celebrate Canada Day. If you are not sure where and when these events are taking place, you can use this resource to find an event near you.

Fireworks on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Canada Day

Canada Day festivals generally take place in a vast, open space with lots of room such as a large park or a beach. These festivals are enormous and have activities for everyone. Some typical things to expect at one of these festivals are rides, souvenirs, face painting, water activities (July is usually scorching hot), and lots of iconic Canadian foods. As a result, Canada Day festivals are a great place to enjoy with your friends and family. Canada Day also conveniently takes place right at the beginning of summer break. It is just the thing to help you start your summer on the right note!

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Is Canada Day A Statutory Holiday?

Canada Day is, in fact, a federal statutory holiday. That means that all government institutions are closed on that day. Libraries, government offices, banks and post offices are all examples of services you will find closed on Canada Day. Most private businesses also give employees a day off. It is important to note that Canada Day is a paid holiday for most employees. That means you will receive holiday pay even if you do not work.

What If Canada Day Falls On A Weekend?

If Canada Day falls on a weekend, the holiday will move to the following Monday. That is because Saturday and Sunday are not regular working days for most employees. As a result, Canada day is bumped to the next weekday day. In 2022, that will not be a problem because Canada Day falls on Friday.

It is important to note that some provinces have different policies regarding when Canada Day is celebrated. While all provinces and territories recognize Canada Day as a statutory holiday, not all of them will move Canada Day to a weekday. Some provinces and territories don’t have a rule that shifts Canada to a weekday if July 1 falls on a weekend.

Canada Day Citizenship Ceremony for new Canadians
Canada Day Citizenship Ceremony for New Canadians

Ultimately, Canada Day is about, well, being Canadian. It is a day to celebrate your identity as a proud Canadian. Canada is a wonderful country with a rich history and a bright future. Canada Day serves to remind us of that fact every year on July 1. As Canadians, it is our responsibility to remember our history and strive for a better future.

For more information, tools, and free webinars about living in Canada visit our Settling in Canada resource page. We’ll help you to settle in Canada successfully!