Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day and Anniversary!

Today we celebrate Canada Day (formerly known as Dominion Day), the "birthday" of the entire country. This holiday began in 1867 with the joining of the British provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to the Province of Canada (now called Ontario and Quebec), thus Canada is 141 years old today.

Oddly, this year also marks the 150th birthday of the province of British Columbia, making it older than Canada as a whole. Not something you generally see the states in the US do that I'm aware of.

July 1st is an important day in Canadian history for a number of reasons, some meant to coincide with Canada Day and some by coincidence. This day was chosen for the first CBC national broadcast in 1958, the creation of the Order of Canada in 1967, and the selection of "O Canada" as the national anthem in 1980. How a country so old can have so many of its national hallmarks within living memory is quite fascinating to me. As an outsider, it looks to me like Canada didn't really start "coming together" as a country until the 60s, and really only united in the form we now know it around 1980. Indeed, "Dominion Day" only officially changed to "Canada Day" in 1982!

Today is also Memorial Day in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to commemorate the Newfoundland Regiment's heavy losses in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and this is still observed today.

For most of the country, however, today is very much like the July 4th celebrations in the US, with flags and national emblems absolutely everywhere (a rare display; Canadians are generally subdued compared to Americans on the issue of patriotism, preferring what they call "a quiet pride" in their country), a federal (and general) day off, and fireworks in the evening (which out here in Victoria means 10:30pm!).

Today also marks the one-year anniversary of this blog, and in conjunction with our .Mac web galleries tells the story of our decision to move here, our journey across the United States, our wonderful friends both old and new across the two countries and our adjustments and tales of life in our wonderful new home: a country similar to, but distinctly different than, America.

We'll take a moment here to thank everyone who's participated or commented on this blog, whether we've met you or not. In part we use this blog to keep in touch with friends and family in the states, but we've also heard from a number of Canadians who've enjoyed seeing their country through "new eyes." We'll continue to write and post photos as our experience continues.

Happy Canada Day, and Happy Fourth of July.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to us!!

Regarding the the BC is 150, Canada 141 thing. The colony of British Columbia was formed 150 years ago, and was a colony of Great Britain with no ties to the Upper and Lower Canada (Ontario and Quebec). Until it joined confederation in 1871.

The US analogy would be to compare the various founding dates of the 13 colonies, which would all be older than the creation of the US.

But wait, there's more. The colony of Vancouver Island was created in 1849 (159 years ago) and then the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia (the mainland) formed a single colony in 1866, a year before the confederation of Canada.

And just for the sake of completeness. Some of the First Nation archeological sites on the west coast show continuous human habitation for close to 12 thousand years - which puts them on the page (though not the top) of the oldest settlements in the world.

chas_m said...

AWESOME info! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Ain't Wikipedia great, eh?

chas_m said...

Hell yeah! :)

About the only "smarty-haid" thing I've written without the "cheat sheet" of Wikipedia on this blog was my analysis of Canadian political parties, which I wrote before discovering the Wiki page! :)