Canada’s national holiday is celebrated every year on July 1 as Canada Day events and celebrations are held throughout the country. Canada Day is a time for Canadians all across the country and around the world to show their pride in their history, culture and achievements.

The history of Canada Day begins in 1867 with the anniversary of Confederation, when the British North America Act came into effect. Today, the Act is known as the Constitution Act, 1867.

The British North America Act united the four initial provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into a single dominion called Canada. During this time, Canada Day was appropriately called Dominion Day.

The Act established a new federal government and Parliament in Ottawa together with provincial governments’ legislatives and declared that the dominion remained under the sovereignty of the British Monarch and served as Canada’s constitution until 1982.

In 1868, Governor General Lord Monck signed a proclamation that requested all Her Majesty’s subjects across Canada to celebrate July 1 as the anniversary of Confederation, or Dominion Day. The proclamation gathered some interest and led to several communities celebrating this day. The celebrations, however, were not officially recognized yet as the legal status of Dominion Day as a public holiday was still uncertain.

A bill to make Dominion Day a public holiday was debated in the House of Commons in 1869 but was withdrawn after several members of Parliament voiced objections because they believed it would show their powerlessness in government.

A decade later, Senator Robert Carrall of British Columbia passed a more successful effort through Parliament in 1879. This led to Dominion Day officially becoming a public holiday.

In 1982, a private member’s bill to change the name from Dominion Day to what we now know as Canada Day was proposed by Vaudreuil MP Hal Herbert. The bill quickly passed through the House of Commons and was approved by the Senate in fall of the same year.

In 1987, a federal law was established marking July 1 as a statutory holiday for Canada Day.

Since the late 1980s, Canada Day festivities in Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, have become annual formal celebrations and ceremonies. The nationally televised events often take place on Parliament Hill and include speeches from dignitaries like the Prime Minister, Heritage Minister and Governor General.

And we continue these celebrations today in 2022.

Here are some Canada Day events and celebrations happening through Greater Vancouver this long weekend.

Canada Together at Canada Place  

This year marks the 36th annual Canada Together event, formerly known as Canada Day at Canada Place. Canada Together was planned collaboratively with representatives from the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations to create a welcoming experience for all.

This year’s theme is “Weaving together the fabric of a nation,” and was chosen to honour Canada’s unique diversity.

The event will feature exhibits, family-friendly entertainment and activities, food trucks and special performances from Canadian country music artist Johnny Reid, rock band Bitterly Divine, electric singer-songwriter Omega Mighty and more.

Canada Together will be happening on July 1 from 11 am to 6 pm at the outdoor spaces at Canada Place, Jack Poole Plaza, Harbour Green Park and the surrounding city streets. Admission is free for all guests.

To learn more, visit the Canada Place website.

Canada Day on Granville Island

Celebrate Canada Day on Granville Island with scavenger hunts, puzzle challenges, painting adventures, balloon twisting, face painting, cookouts and more.

Local vendors will be set up with delicious treats and fun things to do on Granville Island all day long. Admission is free.

To learn more, visit the Granville Island website.

Canada Day at the Burnaby Village Museum

The Burnaby Village Museum is hosting Burnaby’s official Canada Day celebrations on July 1 from 11 am to 4:30 pm.

The museum will have multicultural family entertainment, musicians, displays, face painting, games and more. Admission is free.

To learn more, visit the Burnaby Village Museum website.

Canada Day Shipyards Live

North Vancouver’s biggest Canada Day celebration is happening at the Shipyards on July 1 from noon to 10 pm.

The celebration will have live music, a patio beer garden, retro video dance party, face painting, splash park and food trucks on site all day long. Admission is free.

To learn more, visit the Shipyards District website.

Published on June 30, 2022.