I’ve never had the opportunity to spend Canada Day anywhere else other than Ottawa, the capital city of Canada. So I guess you could say I am a little biased when it comes to where I celebrate. Some say it is the best city in Canada to spend the day. Canada Day is celebrated the same day every year – July 1st. In Ottawa you can expect a big street party. It is probably the only time of year that you will see the downtown core, in front of the parliament building (where our federal government resides) packed from left to right and up and down with people.
So what is Canada Day exactly? Well, it was originally called Dominion Day after a proclamation given by the Governor General at the time to celebrate the Anniversary of the creation of the Dominion of Canada on July 1st in 1868. Well, it took us Canadians about 50 years or so to get this party started. The first celebration happened in 1917, after the partial construction of our parliament buildings, and in honor of the bravery of Canadians fighting in World War I. The second time this day was celebrated was in 1927 to note the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation. In 1958, we eventually started to come out of our shell, and add some fireworks and music to the day. It wasn’t until 1980 that parties across the nation were sponsored by the government, and then in 1982 the day was renamed “Canada Day.” Talk about wallflower syndrome, no? But as is typically Canadian, once you get a Canadian all riled up, its hard to calm them down. Canada Day is defiantly one nationwide street party that is sure to please party (or patriotic) enthusiasts!
In Ottawa there are plenty of Canada Day activities around town. There is the concert on Parliament Hill, tons of activities in the park, in particular Jean Cartier Park just over the bridge in Hull, free museums, street food, restaurants, and of course the fire works at night, which is always the icing on the cake. It is a great day to see pretty much everyone dressed in red and white, to hear some great Canadian music, and to see some great fireworks all around town. Some of the great Canadian musicians playing in the Capital this year include Great Big Sea ( from Newfoundland and Labrador), Sam Roberts Band (from Quebec), and Delhi 2 Dublin (from British Colombia). Check them out!
Check out this listing for a list of some great activities in the Ottawa area:
Or go to any Canadian city web site for a listing of their Canada Day celebration activities. Guaranteed every city, and every little town in Canada will have something going on.
If you have lived in Ottawa all your life, going downtown to the Parliament buildings may not be your thing every year. Many Canadian opt to have a Canada Day BBQ celebration in their back yard instead, and invite their friends and family to partake. With backyards decorated in red and white balloons and Canadian-type partyware, a typical Canada Day BBQ could consist of:
Hamburgers and hot dogs
But the finale of the evening, right before the fireworks, is usually a Canada Day Birthday Cake – usually a normal white cake, but decorated with strawberries as the Canadian flag. Almost every neighborhood has Canada Day fireworks, and there is nothing like cozying up with your whole family on a picnic blanket or sleeping bags, after a great BBQ and cake, and looking up at the sky to see the spectacular firework show. No matter where you are, I hope you enjoy July 1st, Canada’s birthday, and are able to celebrate this beautiful and diverse country.
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