Canada Day 2020: Happy 153rd birthday, Canada!

Canada Day

Canada Day is the national day of Canada. July 1 marks the day the colonies of the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick became a single dominion within the British Empire called Canada.


Thanks to COVID-19, this year’s Canada Day celebrations will be online.

The Ministry of Canadian Heritage released the list of performers for this year’s celebrations. Headline the evening show will be Alanis Morissette, Avril Lavigne and Sarah Maclachlan.

There will be a morning and evening show, both of which will be broadcast live on CBC, Radio-Canada, CPAC as well as the ministry’s website.

Both shows will be hosted by Serena Ryder and Pierre-Yves Lord. The first part will start at 1:00pm and the second part will start at 8:00pm.

Canada Day Across the Country will showcase Canada’s diverse society., sports achievements and Indigenous culture.

The first part of the show will honour Canada’s frontline workers and celebrate the 40th anniversary of O Canada, the country’s national anthem.

Featured artists during the first part of the show will include:

Paul Brandt
Marc Hervieux
Julie Nesrallah
National Arts Centre Orchestra
Laurence Nerbonne
Leela Gilday
Atlantic Ballet Canada
Sierra Noble
Kelly Bado
Olivia Lunny
JP Hoe
Jason Burnstick
Patricia Cano

The second part of the show is called Canada Day Together and will also feature prominent Canadian artists such as:

Alanis Morissette
Avril Lavigne
Sarah McLachlan
Shane Koyczan
Charlotte Cardin
Roxane Bruneau
Alan Doyle
The Sheepdogs
Alexandra Stréliski
Joel Plaskett
Ria Mae
Alex Nevsky
Radio Radio
Damien Robitaille
Haviah Mighty
The Jerry Cans
Natasha Kanapé Fontaine
Guillaume Côté and Vanesa Garcia-Ribala Montoya of the Les Grands Ballets
Alanna McAdie of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Canada Day celebrations will end with a montage of fireworks from previous Canada Day celebrations, sponsored by Tim Hortons.


The ministry has created an online celebration kit for families to use during Canada Day.

The kit includes many activities that can help Canadians celebrate the day with family members, including children.


The Government of Canada’s department responsible for the promotion and support of Canadian identity and values, cultural development and heritage is the Ministry of Canadian Heritage


Canada Day (Fête du Canada) was originally called Dominion Day (Le Jour de la Confédération). It was changed in 1982 after the Canada Act was passed.

Celebrations take place all throughout Canada, as well as in Canadian communities around the world.

Canada Day is considered by many as Canada’s birthday, but the day is just one of many important dates that eventually let to the formation of the country.

July 1, 1869 marked the inclusion of the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into the British Empire.

Canada was still a British colony, but was afforded more political control over its own domestic affairs.

While Canada exercised a degree of independence, the British Parliament still exercised control over areas including foreign affairs, national defence and changes to the constitution.

Canada became full independent from the British Empire with the passage of the Constitution Act of 1982.

Canada Day is observed on July 1, unless July 1 falls on a Sunday. If it falls on a Sunday, July 2 becomes the statutory holiday.

If July 1 falls on a Sunday, celebrations generally take place, despite it not being the statutory holiday.

If July 1 falls on a Sunday, most businesses that are closed usually takes the next day off.


When the Constitution Act of 1867 was enacted, the bells of the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto, Ontario were rung.

The following year, Governor General the Viscount Monck issued a royal proclamation to help Canadians celebrate the special day.

July 1 did not become a statutory holiday until May 15, 1897, when it was designated Dominion Day.

The date was not overly popular with most Canadians until the gold and diamond anniversaries of Confederation, when more Canadians took part in bigger celebrations.

A Member of Parliament from Quebec, Philéas Côté introduced a private member’s bill seeking to rename the date from Dominion Day to Canada Day.

While Côté’s bill was initially stalled when it went to the Senate of Canada, it was returned to the House of Commons where it was renamed as The National Holiday of Canada.

The Government of Canada began organizing Dominion Day celebrations in 1958. Prime Minister John Difenbaker set aside CAD$14,000 to fund the celebrations in Ottawa, Ontario.

Ever since, official celebrations at Parliament Hill includes Trooping the Colour ceremonies followed by concerts and fireworks.

Suceeding addendums to the bills included performances from folk and ethnic groups from all across the country.

When the country celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1967, Canadian nationalism was on the rise, with more and more Canadians celebrating Dominion Day with their families.

In the late 60’s, Dominion Day celebrations were broadcast on televisions all across the country to families unable to join the festivities in the nation’s capital.

In the 80’s, the Government of Canada started distributing funding to cities across the country for Dominion Day celebrations.

It was during the expansion of celebrations that more Canadians started referring July 1 as Canada Day.

Dominion Day was renamed after another private member’s bill passed in the House of Commons, then the Senate of Canada before receiving Royal Assent.

Dominion Day formally became Canada Day on October 27, 1982.


Other important events have taken place on July 1, including:

July 1, 1927 – Canada’s first national radio network hookup by the Canadian National Railway.

July 1, 1958 – Canada’s first cross country television broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

July 1, 1958 – The flooding go the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

July 1, 1966 – Canada’s first colour television transmission.

July 1, 1967 – The inauguration of the Order of Canada.

July 1, 1980 – “O Canada” becomes the country’s national anthem.


Many communities all across Canada organize celebrations that include parades, festivals, air shows and fireworks.

Many public concerts also take place across the country, with the participation of many famous Canadian artists.

Canada’s Prime Minister and Governor General usually attend celebrations on Parliament Hill.

Any visiting members of the Royal Family also attend celebrations in Ottawa.

Overseas Canadians celebrate Canada Day with many activities organized by Embassies and Consulates, as well as by many non-governmental organizations, all across the world.


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