"Canada Day" Canada Local Custom Tip by Carmanah

Canada Local Customs: 138 reviews and 102 photos

  Wearing red and white on Canada Day!
by Carmanah
 
 

Canada Day (July 1st) is a national holiday celebrating the birth of the nation of Canada. It is celebrated all over Canada by a day off of work. Since all Canadian children and teens are out of school by July, it often signifies the beginning of summer vacation and the peak tourist season.

Since Canada didn't fight for national independence, Canada Day is *not* called "Independence Day", even though it is celebrated in a patriotic fashion similar to the USA's July 4th. And while the holiday was initially titled "Dominion Day" back when Canada became a nation in 1867, its name was officially changed to "Canada Day" in 1982. Calling it "Dominion Day" means you're really out of the loop.

What to expect from Canada Day varies across the country. It can be a non-event in some places where you'd surely expect something to happen (like Vancouver, BC), but it can also be the biggest celebration at other places (like Ottawa, Ontario) where the whole city practically turns into an outdoor circus with the happiest bunch of people wearing red, white, and maple leaves! But even small towns can go all out on Canada Day (like Steveston, BC) hosting parades, fairgrounds, and fireworks.

By contrast, in Quebec City, a francophone city whose political interests lay heavy in separating from Canada, they will put the least effort in celebrating Canada Day. Many do not identify themselves as Canadian and will certainly not celebrate it. On a similar note, Montreal has it's unofficial annual "moving day" on Canada Day. Most Montrealers rent apartments. Suspiciously all annual leases are up on July 1st, forcing the whole city into a chaotic moving frenzy. Who has time for Canada Day if you're moving?

Although most tourist sites, restaurants, and shops remain open on Canada Day, banks and government services will be closed. National historic sites can sometimes stay open for free on Canada Day!

But even if you're not Canadian, you'll be encouraged to become an honorary Canadian for the day on Canada Day.

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  • Updated May 1, 2007
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