July 1 is Canada Day

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In Canada, the holiday on July 1, originally called Dominion Day, has been known as Canada Day since 1983. It marks the unification of the three North American British colonies: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada (Ontario and Quebec). On July 1, 1867, when the British North America Act formally joined the colonies, creating the unified, semi-independent Dominion of Canada, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain. The country became fully independent in 1982 and is now made up of 13 provinces and territories.

Traditionally, on Canada Day, as on the Fourth of July in the US, the Canadian flag flies across the country, while citizens typically celebrate with firework displays, concerts, barbecues, parades, and other patriotic activities. The nation’s largest Canada Day celebrations typically occur in the country’s capital, Ottawa, in front of the parliament building.

This year, as in 2020, the Ottawa Citizen reports that Canada Day festivities in Ottawa will be scaled back with a virtual event replacing the usual federal government celebration on Parliament Hill and events in many communities cancelled or altered because of the ongoing pandemic.

Communities across Canada are also canceling or altering plans in a sign of respect to indigenous peoples following the discoveries of hundreds of bodies in marked graves at former schools for indigenous children. Many community leaders have called for the day to be a time for education and reconciliation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this Canada Day would be a “time of reflection,” according to Global News. “I think we all need to pledge ourselves to doing what we can to continue that effort to make Canada better, all the while respecting and listening to those for whom it’s not yet a day of celebration,” he said.

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