What is Canada Day?

Written By Sally Forsyth

Monday, July 1st is Canada Day, one of the biggest national holidays in Canada. This holiday has been observed since 1867 when the British North American Act was signed, officially creating the country of Canada. Canada initially had only four provinces. New Brunswick, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Quebec. Although it was originally named Dominion Day, the celebration was changed to Canada Day in 1982 and in French is known as Fête du Canada.

History of Canada and Canada Day

This video explains the history and origins of the country of Canada and its European roots. Traditionally Canada Day is celebrated with fireworks, parades, music and lots of outdoor fun. It also serves to reinforce a sense of Canadian identity, much like how July 4th in the USA reinforces a sense of identity for Americans. In more recent decades, Canada Day has also focused on reinforcing a sense of multicultural and bilingual identity due to the ethnic and indigenous communities living within Canada. This is also due to the fact that Canada has large French-speaking areas and the two official languages of the country are French and English.

In Ottawa, the country's capital, there's a formal ceremony where the prime minister and other government officials attend, followed by music and performances. In the evening there is usually a major concert featuring performers from all over Canada, followed by an impressive fireworks display.

In smaller communities around the country, people usually celebrate Canada Day with parades, carnivals, festivals and concerts, picnics and barbecues, and lots of family fun. The city of Niagara Falls has a particularly amazing celebration with lots of fun events for the whole family as well as incredible fireworks show over the falls! The Royal Canadian Mounted Police will also perform their amazing musical ride in cities and towns throughout the country.

Canadian RCMP Musical Ride

Typically, people will wear red and white on Canada Day, the colors of the Canadian flag. They might also decorate their homes with Canadian flags or buy them to wave at the parades and festivals in their hometown. For example, you will usually see children with flags painted on their faces or maybe you might see folks dressed up in a Candian tuxedo. What is a Canadian tuxedo? It is simply a denim jacket paired with denim jeans!

As you might expect, Canada Day is an excellent opportunity to try some famous Canadian dishes. Here are some of Canada's best-known foods:

  • Poutine is an all-time favorite. This dish supposedly invented in Quebec, consists of French fries gravy and cheese curds!
  • Maple syrup: Canada provides about 80 percent of the world's maple syrup production so any dessert made with maple syrup is going to be popular on Canada Day.
  • Butter tarts: Butter tarts are a uniquely Canadian dessert which is similar to pecan pie but without the pecans. Made with butter and maple syrup in a flaky crust, butter tarts can have any filling you desire from nuts to raisins to chocolate chips. Mmmm, Delicious! 
  • Tim Hortons coffee and donuts. Tim Hortons is a Canadian chain which sells the most ready-made coffee to go to Canada. If you are in Canada for Canada Day, or at any other time, trying Tim Horton's coffee and donuts is a must.
  • There are loads of other traditional foods to eat on Canada Day: Canadian bacon, Atlantic salmon, and ketchup chips! Be sure to try as many Canadian foods as you can on Canada Day!

In short, Canada Day is a great day to be outside celebrating not only the summer weather but also everything that is great about Canada. Most people will have the day off, so be sure to get together with friends and family to celebrate the nation's birthday !!




Share this story

About the author

Sally Forsyth is a High school English teacher and an educational coach. She has worked in national and internatonal schools in different countries and different school systems, She is also the founder of CoachMyFuture, a coaching organization focusing on coaching teachers and educators in the educational sector.

Subscribe to our Blog!

You May Also Like


Although Korean students studying abroad in the United States have decreased in recent years, Koreans still make up the third-highest population of international students in the United States with


It’s the first day of classes at your school.


Start Your American School Year Off By Making A New Native English Speaking Friend!

HTTP_X_GT_LANG: Undefined