O Canada! It’s time to celebrate Canada Day observed this year on Thursday, July 1. Is Canada Day like the 4th of July in the U.S.? How does Canada celebrate this national day? Learn more about this holiday and its history. Plus, find some delicious recipes!
What Is Canada Day?
Canada Day (French: 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. Essentially, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain.
In 1982, Canada became fully independent. Since 1983, July 1 has been known as “Canada Day.”
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.
When Is Canada Day?
In 2021, Canada Day will be celebrated on Thursday, July 1.
Canada Day occurs on the same date each year (July 1).
It’s a public holiday in Canada. 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.
|2021||Thursday, July 1|
|2022||Friday, July 1|
|2023||Saturday, July 1|
|2024||Monday, July 1|
Canada Day Celebrations
Just as the Fourth of July celebrates American independence, Canada Day is a celebration of a united Canada and independence (though it was more of a major milestone on Canada’s journey toward freedom). On this day, the Canadian flag flies high 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, 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 Celebrations and Recipes
Canada is celebrated widely, with pancake breakfasts, patriotic parades, and celebratory festivals. Many people paint their faces red and white, which are Canada’s national colors.
- To celebrate Canada, why not make some pancakes with real maple syrup? Here are our best homemade pancake recipes.
- Want to try a traditional Canadian recipe? How about making a classic dessert, Canadian Butter Tart Squares?
- Or, celebrate with a delicious Maple-Walnut Layer Cake with Maple Frosting!
Happy Canada Day!
Happy Canada Day, Canadians! How will you celebrate? Let us know in the comments!