Canada Day

Canada Day: The Birthday of a Nation

Map of Canada

Figure 1: The location of Canada and its major cities.



Like many other nations, Canada celebrates its independence. The nation of Canada is a large nation with diverse climates and landscapes along with pronounced multicultural differences in population of 32.5 million people. Canada became independent in 1867 and since then has celebrated it with fireworks, ceremonies, and concerts. At these events and all over the nation, people celebrate their Canadian heritage above any other and a sense of solidarity is felt by all. Over the years, the celebrations have become increasingly government funded and have grown in size.



Figure 2: Crowds of people gather to celebrate Canada Day in preparation of fireworks.
Figure 3: The Canadian flag is raised with the Peace Tower in the background.


Canada Day is celebrated on July 1 st every year and it commemorates the independence of the nation of Canada . While Canadians are not well known for their patriotism, the celebrations of Canada Day prove the world otherwise with day long merriment dedicated to the birth of their home nation. On this website, I will describe Canada Day with its origins, images, context, and interpretation. It is my goal to familiarize readers with how Canadians endorse and reaffirm their independence and express their patriotism from an anthropological perspective.


Context of Canada

Canada Day is celebrated all over the nation of Canada . It is the second largest country in the world with respect to area and is located north of the United States in the continent of North America . Its east and west coasts border the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the northern coast borders the Artic ocean.

  Due to its large size, Canada 's climate varies. In its southern regions, the climate is temperate, but moving north causes the climate to change from subartic to arctic in the northern most regions. The country consists largely of plains, with the exception of a western mountain range and some southeastern lowlands.

  Most archaeologists conclude that the first inhabitants of Canada traveled over a land bridge from Asia . The theory that they came by sea has little empirical evidence. The first inhabitants were of Paleo-Indian heritage, which were mainly hunters and gatherers. After the European conquest of North America, the English and French wanted to find a seaway to the Far East . England took claim over the region of Canada and trade with the natives occurred frequently. Europeans slowly explored the country and began to colonize, mainly the English and the French. It wasn't until 1867 that Canada declared independence from England (Library and Archives of Canada, 2004).

  Today, Canada has a population of approximately 32.5 million people. Its capital is Ottawa and its government is based on a confederation with a parliamentary democracy. About 60% of citizens are of English origin and about 23% of French origin, giving the nation a multicultural nature. The majority of citizens practice Roman Catholicism, and that is followed by Protestantism (World Factbook, 2004).


Origins of Canada Day

The celebration of Canada Day began when Canada became independent in 1867. However, it wasn't called Canada Day until 1982. It was originally called Dominion Day when July 1 st became an official holiday in 1879. At the time, Canadians celebrated their independence, but organize celebrations didn't arise until 1917, with a 50 th anniversary. The government arranged for annual observance in 1958 and the country began to have ceremonies in the capitol with bands and fireworks. It wasn't until the early 1980s that the government began giving money to provinces to fund local celebrations and the name officially changed to Canada Day.



The observable elements to Canada Day have evolved to what they are today and all portray a Canadian's love for his/her country. A large number of Canadians flock to major cities where Canada 's independence is celebrated. At these huge celebrations, citizens of the nation experience speeches, performances, ceremonies, and fireworks. In 1958, the government adopted the Trooping of Colours ceremony, fireworks, and music, and a decade later added multicultural and professional performances, along with a nationally televised show. In fact, in the 1970s, the Canadian government created a month long program in the nation's capitol called “Festival Canada,” which revolved around the patriotic ideas of Canada Day.

  Some observable elements of Canada Day stand out more than others. For example, in figure 4, the raising of the flag is always an important moment because it gives Canadians a chance to remember what it symbolizes. Another important element is the fellowship. Canadians believe that the best way to celebrate being Canadian is to be with other Canadians. This is often a time of “I remember when…” stories.



cana10.gif - 2.1 K Figure 4. A picture of the Canadian national flag.




Prognosis for Canada Day

Being a nation-wide celebration of national independence, Canada Day is celebrated by millions of people. It is difficult to estimate if less or more citizens are participating in the celebration. It can be said though that the Canadian population is growing, and as more Canadians are born or foreigners immigrate there, the more people are going to participate. However, over the past thirty years, Canada 's government has added more funding, more concerts and shows, and more televised events. This may be an indicator that more and more Canadians demand bigger celebrations on Canada Day.



Canada Day allows Canadian citizens to observe their culture as an entire population, instead of on an individual basis. The nation's people are brought together regardless of individual differences and a heightened level of communitas results. Patriotism is increased and practiced on Canada Day despite the multicultural heritages of its inhabitants. Canadian citizens act on this their patriotism by celebrating on a grand scale with fireworks and concerts as well as individual practices such as barbeques. Social distinctions and hierarchies aren't recognized on this day, but instead, everyone is seen as Canadian. The Canadian core value of peace is exemplified by this holiday. On Canada Day, Canadians celebrate what it is and what it means to be Canadian.


Internet References Cited

    Canadian Heritage

             2004    Public Holidays. Canada Day. Electronic document,


                          accessed October 14.   This site contains information on the

                          public holidays of Canada .

    Canada For Visitors

               2004     Canada Day: July 1st.  Electronic Document,,   

                              accessed October 15.

                             This is a site developed to informing people about Canadian culture.

    Canada Online

                2004    Canada Day.  Electronic document.,

                              accessed October 18.

                              This is a site that contains articles about the country of Canada.

    Gael Force

              2004     Picture Menue.  Electronic document,,

                             accessed September 16.

                            This site contains pictures of an individuals' experience celebrating Canada


    Library and Archives of Canada

             2004       Land Bridge to the New World.  Electronic document,

                   , accessed

                             Semtember 19.

                             This site contains articles about Canada's history.

    Photo Navy

             2004      Johnny's Pictures. Electronic document,

                  , accessed Semptember 16.

                            This site contains pictures of people celebrating Canada Day.

    CIA World Factbook

             2004      Canada. Electronic document,

                   , accessed

                             September 19.

                            This site contains statistical information on the country of Canada.



Peer-Reviewed References Cited

  • Murphy, Patricia J.

  •         2000  Canada Day.  Scholastic Inc. New York.

  • Moehn, Heather
  •         2000   World Holidays.  Grolier Publishing. New York.
  • Steyn, Mark
  •         1997   Canada: Awash in Hypehnation New Criterion, volume 16,   
  •                          issue1,pp 19-26.
  • Turner, Victor, and Turner, Edith

  •         1982   Religious Celebrations.  In Celebration: Studies of Festival and

  •                    Ritual.  Victor Turner, ed, pp. 201-219.  Smithsonian Institution

  •                      Press, Washington.

  • .


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