“Canada Day”, in French “Fete du Canada” is the National Day of Canada, formerly known as “Dominion Day”, (in French “Le Jour de la Confederation” ) which marks the anniversary of the Constitution Act 1867, joining Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Canada province (now Ontario and Quebec) into a single country. The Constitution Act granted Canada a significant amount of independence from the United Kingdom, although complete independence was not given until 1982 when the Canada Act was passed. The first official celebration of Canada Day was held in 1917 to honour Canada’s 50th birthday. In 1946, Mr. Phileas Cote, a member of Quebec House of Commons, who sent a private member’s bill to rename Dominion Day as Canada Day. The government first recognized Canada Day in 1958 by holding a trooping of the color on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Canada’s centennial marked the first official celebration of Canada Day in 1967. Since then, the celebration promoted nationalism and Canadian pride. Under the federal Holidays Act, Canada Day is observed on July 1 every year.
“Canada”, a St. Lawrence Iroquoian word “Kanata”, means “village” or “settlement”. In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec city region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier to the village of Stadacona. Cartier later used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village, but the entire area subject to Donnacona. In the 17th and early 18th centuries, “Canada” referred to the part of New France that lay along the St. Lawrence River and the northern shores of the Great Lakes. The area was later split into two British colonies, Upper Canada and Lower Canada. They were reunified as the Province of Canada in 1841. Upon Confederation in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country, and the word “Dominion” was conferred as the country’s title. However, as Canada asserted its political autonomy from the United Kingdom, the federal government increasingly used simply Canada on state documents and treaties, a change that was reflected in the renaming of the national holiday from Dominion Day to Canada Day in 1982. “National Flag of Canada” also known as the Maple Leaf, in French “l’Unifolie” means “the one-leafed”, is a red flag with a white square in its centre, featuring a stylized 11-pointed red maple leaf. Its adoption in 1965 marked the first time a national flag had been officially adopted in Canada to replace the Union Flag.
Now, Canadians celebrate their independence on July 1st, often with friends and family, setting off fireworks, pancake breakfasts, and having barbecues. It marks the day in 1965 when our red and white maple leaf flag was first raised over the Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and indeed, hundreds of communities across Canada. Red and white were designated Canada’s official colours in 1921 by His Majesty King George V. This is a perfect opportunity to celebrate our flag and what is stands for: a Dominion that is the envy of the world. In 1967, the Order of Canada was inaugurated. “O Canada” was also named the official national anthem on Canada Day, 1980. In 1927, the celebration coincided with the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation.
Most celebrations take on a festive, patriotic tone. Canada day is recognized with parades, fireworks, carnivals, and festivals. Many Canadians also engage in popular outdoor activities like sports, trips to public parks and most attractive places in Canada. The biggest celebration is held in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario. Events are held in museums and famous parks across the city. People can find historical presentations, children’s activities and sports games throughout the day of July 1st. The festival ends with a grand finale of fireworks over Parliament Hill. The Queen of England is often in attendance. Canada Day is the day that all Canadians enjoy relax while spending time with family and friends. Canada’s distinctive red and white flag is proudly displayed, and some people even paint their faces red and white.
Since the earliest days of our history, Canada has been a land of promise and pride. We have built a society that celebrates achievement and excellence, while the same time maintaining a strong respect for human rights. Our participation in Celebration of Canada Day activities brings us together, strengthens our communities, and helps us understand the significance of the citizenship we all share. This day people go out, relax at the cottages, enjoy the lakes. Others will participate in the festivities and parties in Canada’s multicultural cities.
Each year, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at hosts Canada Day celebrations across the nation to affirm the loyalty to Canada; their homeland in unison with the fellow citizens in fulfilment of the Commandment of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), who reminded us that “Loyalty to the Homeland is part of the faith”. Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at (AMJ) Calgary celebrates “Canada Day” at Prairie Winds Park, Calgary on a large scale as part of its social responsibilities to promote national pride and community spirit. Over the years, Canada Day Celebrations at Prairie Winds Park have become one of city’s premier events attended by thousands of Calgarians representing diverse communities and is growing in its magnitude. In addition, Federal/Provincial Ministers, Members Parliament/Alberta Legislative Assembly, Mayor of Calgary, Aldermen, Community Leaders have attended this program in the past. Volunteers serve complementary BBQ to more than 6000 participants every year. The children get the opportunity to participate in fun activities. This year’s Canada Day event will also mark the Celebrations of Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
In a world a that is often troubled, we are blessed to live a country like Canada. We are proud to live a society where we can celebrate our tremendous diversity. Canada Day means happiness, Canadians celebrate this day with glowing hearts. Canada Day means spring and fall, snow and Niagara Falls, and mountains. Canada Day means thankfulness for the freedom of speech, freedom of worship and freedom to celebrate our diversity. Canada Day means justice, humanity, peace, love, harmony, respect, comfort and gratefulness to our Lord for the wide and vast lands of Canada. All these sweet morals make our beautiful land even sweeter like maple syrup. Canada Day means opportunities, choices so every day there are plenty of reasons to be confident about the future of our country. We solute our forces, our people, and our government who are trying their best to keep us successful and make Canada a safer place of the world.
Finally, we as Canadians keep our faith strong and love Canada from the bottom of our hearts. We celebrate Canada Day and pray for its shining future and prosperity. As an Ahmadi Muslim Canadian, I feel proud to call myself Canadian. God Keep our land glorious and free, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. Happy Birthday Canada. Happy Canada Day.