Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day - 2009

(Canada Day Celebration in Montreal)

Happy Canada Day!

On the 20th day of June 1868 a proclamation signed by Governor General ( Lord Monck ) called upon all Her Majesty's loving subjects across Canada to join in the celebration of the anniversary of the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of Canada on July 1st.

The July 1 holiday was established by statute in 1879, under the name Dominion Day.

There is no record of organized ceremonies after this first anniversary, except for the 50th anniversary of Confederation in 1917, at which time the new Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings, under construction, was dedicated as a memorial to the Fathers of Confederation & to the valor of those Canadians fighting in the 1st World War over in Europe.

The next celebration to take place was held in the year 1927 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation. It was highlighted by the laying of the corners tone by the Governor General of the Confederation Building on Wellington Street and the inauguration of the Carillon in the Peace Tower.

Since 1958 the government has arranged for an annual observance of Canada's national day with the Secretary of State of Canada in charge of the co-ordination. The format provided for a Trooping the Colours ceremony on the lawn of Parliament Hill in the afternoon, a sunset ceremony in the evening followed by a mass band concert & a fireworks display.

Another high light was Canada's Centennial in 1967 when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II attended the celebrations with Parliament Hill again being the setting for a large scale official ceremony.

The format changed in 1968 with the addition of professional & multicultural concerts held on Parliament Hill including a nationally televised TV show. Up until 1975 the focus of the celebrations under the name "Festival Canada" was held in the National Capital Region during the whole month of July & involved many cultural, sport & artistic activities as well as municipalities & voluntary organizations. The celebration was cancelled in 1976 but was reactivated in the year 1977.

A new formula was developed in 1980 whereby the National Committee (the federal government organization charged with planning Canada's Birthday celebrations) stressed and sponsored the development of local celebrations all across Canada. Seed money (Money used for the opening for a new business to pay for such preliminary stages as market research and product development.) was distributed to promote popular and amateur activities organized by volunteer groups in hundreds of local communities. The same approach was also followed for the 1981 celebrations with the addition of fireworks displays in 15 major cities across the nation.

On October 27, 1982, July 1st which was known as "Dominion Day" became "Canada Day".

Act respecting the Do minion Day - 1879:

On the 15th day of May 1879 a Royal Assent (Assent/ agreement with a statement or proposal to do something ) was given to... An Act which would make the 1st day of July a Public Holiday which would be named Dominion Day"

Proclamation - Respecting the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of:
On the 16th day of June 1917 the Duke of Devonshire & the Governor General issued a proc
lamation appointing Monday the 2nd Day of July 1917 for the special celebration of the 50th Anniver sary of Confederation.

Diamond Jubilee of the Confederation Act & 1927 Incorporation of National Committee: On the 18th day of February 1927 Royal Ass
ent was given to an act which would in corporate a National Committee for the celebration of the ( Diamond Jubilee of Confederation ).

The Committee named the Corporation comprised of about 70 persons which including the Governor General with his wife, the lieutenant governor's of the provinces, the right honorable Prime Minister of Canada and 7 members of the Cabinet (not including the Secretary of State), several privy councilors including the former prime minister, the Chief Justice, the speakers of both Houses, the premiers of all the provinces, the Leader of the Opposition party, many senators & the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Clerk of the Privy Council, the Dominion Archivist, the Under Secretary of State, the Under Secretary of State for External Affairs & the heads of a few organizations consisting of: National Council of Women, the Trades & Labour Congress, the United Farmers of Alberta, National Battlefields Commission, Bar Association, Canadian Legion and others.

Objects of the Corporation were to make & carry out necessary arrangements in co-operation with the provinces and other bodies for an effective celebration of the 60th anniversary of the formation of the Dominion of Canada & to administer & distribute a grant of $250,000. The affairs of the corporation were looked after by an executive committee in which the Secretary of State of Canada convened the 1st meeting ever of this national committee.

Celebration throughout Canada 1927:

The National Committee put forth a booklet which was named "Order of Proceedings" for national thanks giving by the people of Canada for Sunday July 3 as a suggestion for local committees across Canada for a public religious ceremony at 2:30 pm in each local time zone under the direction of the lieutenant-governor or mayor or any other senior person in the community. The Prime Minister ( Right Honorable William Lyon Mackenzie King ) who happened to be a Presbyterian, decided to edit this booklet as it was found to be not acceptable for Roman Catholic usage.

The Committee issued a 48 page pamphlet which was illustrated in colour and contained suggestions for historical pageants, floats & tableaux (tableaux = A representation of some scene by means of persons grouped in the proper manner, placed in appropriate postures & remaining silent and motionless) for the guidance and bib liography of Canadian history.

Ottawa Confederation 1927:

the National Committee put together the program of a national celebration at Ottawa which began at 11:00 am. on Friday July 1, 1927 with the laying of the cornerstone done by the Governor General of the Confederation Building at the corner of Bank St. and Wellington St. & continued with the planting of Con federation maple trees on Parliament Hill & the inauguration of the Carillon in the Peace Tower & in the afternoon addresses by the Prime Minister of Canada, the Governor General of Canada & the Leader of the official Opposition & descendants of fathers of Confederation mixed with public singing which was lead by a centenary choir & schoolchildren. Later there was a rather large dinner which was provided by National Committee. The dinner took place in the Ottawa Parliament buildings on the night of the 1st of July followed by an historical parade.

I thought you would enjoy reading how Canada came about. Thanks to Wikipedia for its help!

To all of our Canadian Cousins, we wish you a Happy Canada Day 2009!


Your Cousin Lucie

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