Learn the history behind Canada Day
Rafael Ramirez | June 27, 2019
July 1 is Canada Day to commemorate the day that Canada became a self-governing Dominion of England. Up until 1982, it was known as Dominion Day.
Canada at the very beginning was first visited by Vikings from Iceland nearly a thousand years ago, who landed in what is now Newfoundland. In 1497, explorer John Cabot traveled across the ocean to Newfoundland. Then spent several years navigated the Eastern Canada area mapping it.
Famous explorer Jacques Cartier travelled to the area to find a western passage to Asia for better access to trade. In 1534 he made landfall and initially believed that he had found the passage he was looking for thinking the land was actually Asia. Meeting with the natives of the land he brought them back to France. He would later make many more returning visits back to what they still believed to be China.
Jacques Cartier’s following visit had him meet several other Natives and villages, which is where he learned that he hadn’t discovered the passage but a brand-new land. Canada got its name when Cartier heard two guides who spoke the Iroquoian word ‘Kanata’ meaning village. Soon the area starting growing with both French and English explorers to see what this land had to offer.
The colonies settled by England and France grew rapidly with the fur and skin trade and later on the logging industry. The creation of the Hudson Bay Company was created so the English could capitalize on the emerging trades. Rival countries started spouting up creating rapid development for the colony. With that quick growth traders and explorers continued following rivers and paths further inland to find more resources to trade and sell back in Europe.
In 1867, the representatives of the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the province of Canada, (Which later became the provinces of Ontario and Quebec), worked to be an English colony called ‘the Dominion of Canada’ and the British Parliament passed the BNA Act (British North America Act) later that year which made Canada its own self-governing federation. The dominion was dropped in 1931, when the British Parliament passed ‘The Statute of Westminster’ which gave Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Ireland its own independence, declaring that they were equal to Britain.
In modern times, we celebrate Canada day similar to how they first did years ago. Food and activities like music, parades, and an evening firework show are a tradition all throughout the country. All of the different communities coming together in celebrating their unique traits that makes them Canadian.
Expansion of the Country
1867 — Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick
1870 — Manitoba and the Northwest Territories (N.W.T.)
1871 — British Columbia
1873 — Prince Edward Island
1898 — Yukon Territory
1905 — Alberta and Saskatchewan
1949 — Newfoundland and Labrador
1999 — Nunavut
UCW hosts a Canada Day celebration each year. This year’s festivities are taking place on July 3 and will feature a scavenger hunt in downtown Vancouver around the UCW campus as well as games, a quiz, food and other activities in the lobby.
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