On July 1st, 1867, Canada became a country. On that day, the British Parliament passed the British North America Act. This law said that Canada would now have its own government.
A country outside of Britain that:
1. belongs to the British Commonwealth
2. has the British King or Queen for its head of state, and
3. has its own government
is called a dominion.
For many years, July 1st was called “Dominion Day”. In 1982, the name was changed to “Canada Day”. (The government felt it would be better not to remind people of Canada’s ties to Britain.)
Under both names, it has always been celebrated as Canada’s birthday. Most people have the day off – if the first is a Sunday, the holiday comes on the second. All over Canada, people celebrate. There is a huge concert on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Other places may have music, fireworks, and birthday cake for everyone.
From Special Days in Canada: A Guide to Canadian Holidays, by Jane Wangersky, available from Lulu.com for $9.95.