Canada Day 2020

Canada Day History, Celebrations, and More

October 3, 2019
Canadian Flag
Muskoka Stock Photos/Shutterstock

O Canada! It’s time to celebrate Canada Day! Learn the history behind this national holiday, celebrated each year on July 1.

What is Canada Day?

Canada Day (Fête du Canada) is a federal statutory holiday celebrating Canadian Confederation. Originally called Dominion Day, the holiday commemorates the unification of the three North American British colonies: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada (which consisted of Ontario and Quebec).

On July 1, 1867, the British North America Act formally joined the colonies, creating the unified, semi-independent Dominion of Canada. Canada remained a part of the British Empire until 1982, when the country became fully independent.

Since 1867, Canada has grown to include six more provinces and three territories—the most recent being the territory of Nunavut in 1999. The country is now made up of 13 provinces and territories.

Canada Day

When is Canada Day?

Canada Day occurs on July 1. Workers typically have this day off, but if the holiday occurs on a weekend, the following Monday may be given as a day off instead.

Year Canada Day
2020 Wednesday, July 1
2021 Thursday, July 1
2022 Friday, July 1
2023 Saturday, July 1

Canada Day Celebrations

Just as the Fourth of July celebrates American independence, Canada Day is a celebration of a free and united Canada. On this day, the Canadian flag flies high across the country, while citizens celebrate with firework displays, concerts, barbecues, parades, and other patriotic activities. 

The nation’s largest Canada Day celebrations occur in the capital, Ottawa, right in front of the parliament building. See a list of Canada Day festivities in Ottawa.

Canada Day Trivia

  • July 1, 1867: John A. MacDonald became the first Prime Minister of Canada. The current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has served since 2015.

  • In 1967, Montreal hosted the World’s Fair (Expo 67), celebrating 100 years since Canadian Confederation. It was the most successful World’s Fair of the century.

  • July 1, 1980: “O Canada” became Canada’s official national anthem. (See below for lyrics.) Originally written in French, the song was first performed 100 years earlier, on June 24, 1880, in Quebec City.

  • On July 1, 2017, Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary. 

Want to sing along on Canada Day? Here are the lyrics to “O Canada,” Canada’s national anthem:

O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all of us command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North, strong and free!

From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

–from “O Canada,” orig. by Robert Stanley Weir (1856–1926)

Canada Day Recipes

Many of the quintessential Canadian recipes, such as poutine or tourtière, are designed to keep you warm on a cold, Canadian winter night. As such, they may not be the best-suited recipes for a mid-summer Canada Day picnic! In any case, here are a few of our favorites:

Check out our collection of Summer Picnic Recipes for more seasonally-appropriate ideas!

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day, Canadians! How will you celebrate? Let us know in the comments!

Reader Comments

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Wonder how long it'll be, before they won't able to celebrate this holiday anymore. It's sad to watch what's happening to that country, and 18 others.


I'll be singing with Northern Voice in Hampton, NB as part of the Canada Day celebration. Northern Voice is an A Cappella chorus that sings uniquely Canadian songs. Happy Canada Day everyone!

Canada Day

This year I will be in hospital with two broken ankles celebrating Canada Day. This is the first year since 1984 that I will not be running/attending the Canada Day events in Crawford Bay, BC, it is always a special day for my family as well as the community. Happy Canada Day everyone be proud of out wonderful country.