It’s Canada Day! Happy Birthday to one of my favorite countries! I love Canada. Not only does it have a cool anthem and flag, but also it gave the world an important contribution, NHL ice hockey! Yes, Canada, the land of maple leafs and curling stones. Where every boy dreams of being either Wayne Gretsky or a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Every girl dreams of being Alanis Morisette or Sarah McLachlan.
Of course, there is a serious historical side to Canada Day. On July 1, 1867, the British North America Act was enacted, now known as the Constitution Act. It united the British colonies of Nova Scotia and New Foundland with the Province of Canada, forming the dominion of Canada. The holiday was known as Dominion Day until 1982, when it was renamed by an act of Parliament as Canada Day.
Living in Detroit, across the river from Windsor, Ontario, we Americans and Canadians share this period with what is called the International Freedom Festival. With Canada Day, today, and our own Independence Day on July the Fourth, it seemed like a good idea. In addition to an outstanding annual fireworks display, we also have various other events, including a tug-of-war between first-responders from both cities. Carnivals, music concerts and plenty of good food round out the occasion. Other border-joining cities also have similar activities.
Back in Canada, Queen Elizabeth II is visiting Ottawa and participating in the festivities there. She’s wearing her best red dress and sporting a smashing white hat with red trim, showing Canada’s ‘colours’ as only the Queen can. Queen Elizabeth II has attending several before, including Canada’s 100th anniversary in 1967.
For all the ribbing Canada gets, usually from us Yanks, there is one thing you have to admire. Since Sundays are still considered a sacred, religious day, most businesses are closed. If July 1 falls on a Sunday, then Canada Day itself is celebrated the following Monday on July 2. Think about that! We here in the States have generally reduced all of our holidays to discount sales for furniture, carpeting and appliances. Nothing is closed, in many cases the stores are open extra hours.
So Happy Birthday, Canada! Our noble neighbors to the north. Unless you’re here in Detroit, where Windsor is actually south of us! Canada Day is a lot of fun and you folks still know how to celebrate it with great dignity. Something we all could use a bit more of.