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You know, back in 1982 when the old Dominion Day was renamed Canada Day I wasn’t all that amused. Fact is, I hated the idea. Happy Canada Day. I mean, really? Our big brother to the south has Independence Day, better known as The Fourth of July or, more succinctly, The Fourth. That was the day that the 13 Colonies declared their independence from Great Britain… Or was it? No matter, The Fourth has since been celebrated as thus.
Yet, what of Dominion Day? Oh, alright, Canada Day…
Canada Day is celebrated on July 1, the anniversary of the 1867 signing of the British North America Act, an act which united three colonies into a single country called, you guessed it, Canada. These three colonies were the colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada. Oddly enough, their amalgamation created four provinces when The Province of Canada was divided into Quebec and Ontario.
So what did growing up Canadian mean to me?
Initially I took great pride in my discoveries; Alex Trebek, host of Jeopardy, one of America’s most popular nightly game shows was, in fact, Canadian and proud of it. The late great John Belushi’s comic foil Dan Aykroyd? Also Canadian. Jim Carrey? Cannuck. Paul Anka; Pamela Anderson; John Candy; Tommy Chong… shit, we’re only in the “C’s”. I came to realize that so much of America’s culture was augmented by current or ex-pat Canadians… Michael J Fox anyone. And so, I basked in my smugness for a number of years.
Yet, with age comes wisdom, right?
One thing I have always admired about Americans has been their inherent pride in America, it has done my heart good over the past number of years to see Canadians start to take more pride in our country. We have a great country, you know. And we have a great neighbour to our south.
And you know, I don’t even mind the renamed holiday’s new name. So, Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends and those who wished they were… Canadian, that is. And while I’m at it, a Happy 4th of July to my American family and friends.
By the way, the 13 Colonies actually declared their independence on July 2nd, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence. Even John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail, expounded the fact that the July 2nd would “be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I believe it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more. ”
Oh well, what did he know…