In the 1800’s Canada was a series of divided areas. With Upper Canada populated with settlers from France and Lower Canada with settlers from England, the colony stood on opposites sides of many issues- including wars in Europe between their home countries. Different regions surfaced, including Acadia on the East Coast which was predominantly French, and Manitoba inland which was created by the fur trade.
These areas all had their own system of government or political parties. Further, at this young stage, the Canadian colonies were already spread over such a diverse area of lands that they held individualized resources and needs. This enhanced the tensions between each other.
It was finally in 1867- Yes, Canada is still so young in comparison- that the founding fathers of Canada created the Confederation. At the helm, was our first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald. Together, 4 provinces formed to become a major part of the Canada we know today. They were Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.
Manitoba, on the other hand, held off another 3 years before they finally joined the country at the same time as the Northwest Territories. From then on, it was a slow process of adding British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Yukon Territory, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and finally Newfoundland. They joined one at a time, dating as recently as 1949. In fact, recently, in 1999, a piece of the Northwest Territories separated itself and became Canada’s third territory, Nunavut. These 13 regions create the entirety of Canada.
It was July 1st, 1867 that Canada was born. We still celebrate the country’s birthday with the aptly named Canada Day each year. It is a national holiday with most people receiving an extra day off of work. Often this longer weekend is simply referred to ‘the July long’.
Children are usually recently out of school and families often take this time to travel out of town. Road trips, camping, and any outdoor experience are common. It is the official kick-off to our summer enjoyment.
My personal favourite Canada Day celebration happened up North in the village of Haines Junction, Yukon. The whole town came to be in or to watch a parade right down the main street. Their main street also happens to be a stretch of the Alaska Highway. Thus, this popular summer highway was barricaded and closed for the duration of the parade. Of course, in this village of ~500 people, a parade does not take very long. There was also a huge barbeque lunch serving hamburgers and hot dogs. It seemed that everyone attended.
Other common events include concerts, family-oriented events in parks, and fireworks at night. And, we cannot forget, everyone wears as much red and white and maple leafs as they can.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Aisha Ashraf, a British expat in Canada
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