June 20, 1868, a proclamation signed by the Governor General, Lord Monck, called upon subjects of Her Majesty throughout Canada to join in the celebration of the 1st anniversary of the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of Canada on July 1st.

On July 1, 2000 Canada will be 133 years old.

My favorite day of the year! Living in Ottawa (the capital), this holiday has a special significance.

The build-up to the fireworks on Parliament Hill tends to litter the entire city with rowdy drunken Canadians regardless of the weather (which is fine with me!). The really hard-core patriots are prone to throwing themselves into the canal with loud whoops of joy.Spontaneous hugs from strangers and gratuitous body art are all common occurences in the streets of downtown, and if you stand at the higher east end of Rideau street you can watch the people flow like a river over the pavement. I've never seen so much noise, love, and alcohol packed into one city.

In Montreal canada day has an entirely different significance. Here it's known by a completely different name.... moving day. Today is the day that something like 45% percent of the apartment dwelling population of montreal
switch apartments. On a day like today the streets are clogged with moving vans and displaced families. Van rentals have been booked solid for this partcualr weekend for something like 4 months now. It doesn't sound like much but walking around on the streets it's definitely surreal.
This is an entirely cultural phenomenon that occurs in no other location in space and time.

Canada, unlike the United States, didn't spring fully formed into the world.

While that statement isn't literally true about the U.S., there are very specific events that can be pointed to: the Declaration of Independence, the adoption of The Constitution, the adoption of The Bill of Rights.

Canada, like everything, is a work in progress. The first Canada Day, for all the hoopla, was the celebration of a country that wasn't yet. There are many more events to point to than for our American neighbours. (We too often see ourselves in that distortion mirror.)

It makes things much easier, I agree, to see a specific start point, then we can say those are the real Canadians--it is much harder to accept that there is no model of what a Canadian is, no melting pot in which the real Canadians will be made.

This is forever the problem of being the flea on the elephant.

But I shall be celebrating my Canada Day privately, enjoying my freedom to be what I am--whatever the hell that is, or will be--noding here on Everything, walking down the street, thanking Sophia that I can be what I am, and must conform to no model!

Section 2 of the Canadian Holidays Act states the following:
Canada Day

2. (1) July 1, not being a Sunday, is a legal holiday and shall be kept and observed as such throughout Canada under the name of "Canada Day".

When July 1 is a Sunday

2. (2) When July 1 is a Sunday, July 2 is a legal holiday and shall be kept and observed as such throughout Canada under the name of "Canada Day".

R.S., c. H-7, s. 2; 1980-81-82-83, c. 124, s. 1.

In other words, Canada Day is on July 2nd this year (2012).



Reference: The Holidays Act on the Canadian Justice Department website at http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/H-5/index.html (last checked 2012/04/23).

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