I had to chuckle when I read that one of the most commonly asked questions by Americans when visiting Niagara Falls in July is “Why do Canadians celebrate July 4th with us?” In fact, Canada does not celebrate July 4, we celebrate Canada on July 1st! So to help our neighbours to the south, we thought we’d share some Canada Day Facts to help better understand that we aren’t celebrating with you, we actually have our own holidays too. Read more: 17 Fun Independence Day Facts to Celebrate July 4
Canada Day Fun Facts
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One of our biggest celebrations in Canada is Canada Day on July 1. Even though our holiday is close to Independence Day in the USA, it is a different holiday. Most Americans don’t really know what Canada Day is, but there are also a lot of Canadians who don’t know a lot about Canada Day either.
There’s a bit more to it than just drinking beer and eating burgers. Although, that is a large part of the celebration.
What is Canada Day?
Canada Day is essentially our Independence Day. Canada Day was originally called Dominion Day and officially became a statutory holiday in 1897. It was re-named in 1982 to Canada Day. The word Canada comes from the Huron-Iroquois word “kanata”.
Canada Day celebrates the day Nova Scotia & New Brunswick, Ontario (then Upper Canada) & Quebec (then lower Canada) came together on July 1, 1867 to form our Constitution Act. The rest of the provinces soon followed suit. However, Nunavut only joined in 1999 after it split from NWT.
Should We Celebrate Canada Day?
There has been a lot of debate in recent years if we should celebrate Canada Day at all. In 2021 that call has grown after the atrocities committed by the Catholic Church where hundreds of children’s remains have been found buried in unmarked graves at residential schools. Read more about the Residential School murders in Canada.
It is difficult to celebrate a country that took children from their families and let thousands of children die at the hands of residential schools in our liftime. It is a valid debate that should be discussed and perhaps Canada Day should be changed to be more of a memorial or day of reflection. As a nation, we have always held ourselves in such high regard but this changes everything and we must not ignore this. We know that we must own this and bring those to justice who committed the murders both in the government and the Catholic Church. Read more about calls to cancel Canada Day.
We have more than one dark past where we treated humans poorly. In 1923, the government passed the Chinese Immigration Act on July 1. It stopped all immigration from China and it wasn’t repealed until 1947. For 24 years this act was enforced and Chinese Canadians referred to Canada Day as Humiliation Day.
As a Canadian I believe we can come together. I feel that most Canadians have empathy and are listening. While we cannot change the past, we can make sure that we come together for a stronger future and I believe there is a place for Canada Day to continue by including everyone, recognizing our past mistakes and honouring those who lost their lives.
I recently watched a documentary by Hollywood writer Rob Cohen who researched what it is exactly to be Canadian. He interviewed some of our more notable Canadian celebrities like Mike Myers, Michael J. Fox, Dan Ackroyd, William Shatner, Alan Thicke, Martin Short, Paul Schafer, Alex Trebek and Catherine O’hara who has spent a lot of time in Canada recently thanks to filming Schitts Creek! Get a copy of Being Canadian to see all the famous Canadian talk about their homeland
Best Canadian Commercial Ever!
Canada Day used to be just another day off work for most Canadians. We didn’t know or care what it was about. But since the 1990s Canadians have found new pride in their country. I know what you must be thinking. “How can a commercial sum up Canadian pride?” But it really does!
Released as a commercial for our national beer brand, Molsen Canadian, it really gained popularity and still is referenced today when people as about “What does being Canadian mean?” Give it a listen and you will know exactly what I mean. Famous Canadian William Shatner also did a version of this rant and we love this one too! Check it out here.
Fun Fact: A recent study found that 86 percent of Canadians believe we live in the best country in the world.
Okay on with the Canadian Facts!
1. Canada has 10 provinces and 3 Territories
Canada does not have states. Instead we have provinces and territories. We have 10 provinces and 3 territories spanning across the second largest country on earth. That is a lot of space.
- Canadian Provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island (PEI).
- Canadian Territories: North West Territories, Yukon, Nunavut
Dave and I have been to: BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island (PEI). We have stopped to fill up in Nunavut while flying to Greenland once, but we can’t really count that as an actual visit.
4. Most Popular Phrase in Canada: Sorry
What is it with Canadians? We really do apologize a lot. When someone bumps into us, we are the ones saying “sorry”. It seems to be a very common thing. When you come to Canada, don’t worry about offending anyone, most likely if you do, a Canadian will apologize for you. Read more: Canadian Slang, Unique Phrases and Canadian Sayings
5. Canadians Love Beer eh?
Canadians love beer. On the July 1 weekend, Canadians drink 1.2 million litres of beer. That’s a lot of beer eh? Oh, we say “eh” a lot.
6. Canada’s Cocktail – Caesar
But Canada’s cocktail is definitely the Caesar. The Caesar is similar to a Bloody Mary except we use Clamato Juice. What is Clamato Juice you ask? Clamato Juise is a mixture of clam juice and tomato juice. (Yes, really. – juice made from clams)
Mix vodka and clam juice with Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco and then garnish with celery and a lime and you’ve got yourself a delicious refreshing drink! PS, the Bloody Caesar is an excellent remedy for morning hangovers.
7. Canadians are Good Neighbours
Canada and the US have the longest undefended border in the world. If that doesn’t make us good neighbours to each other I don’t know what does.
We also celebrate our individual independence during the first weekend of July together, like good neighbors (notice how I spelled it without the “u” for our friends to the south?) Canada Day and Independence Day are both celebrated at Niagara Falls with a huge fireworks display on July 1 and July 4 at 10pm.
8. Population of Canada
Canada is really small compared to the US. We only have a population of 37.59 million people while the United States has 328 million people living in the nation.
9. The Beaver
Canada’s National Symbol is the mighty Beaver. Yes, the animal we love is the beaver. It’s very Canadian.
However, don’t mock beavers. They can be very vicious. Beavers have been known to attack humans and there have been reported deaths by beaver.
10. The Loonie and Toonie Story
Canadians are quirky. We’re the only country I know of that names our currency something out of a cartoon. Our one dollar coin is called a Loonie and our two dollar coin is called a Toonie.
Loonie was named after a bird
The $1 coin ended up being called a loonie because there is a loon (it’s an aquatic bird) on it. When the $2 coin came out, we decided “two dollars” was just too much to say, so we all started calling it a Toonie. True story!
11. Longest Coastline in the World
If you have ever visited any coastline in Canada you know that it is beautiful. From the rugged coast of British Colombia to the west to the rocky shores of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland to the East, the coastal areas of Canada are quite diverse.
But, did you know that Canada has the longest coastline in the world at 151,600 miles? Scratch that Canada is on the metric system, our coastline is actually 243,976 km.
12. Canada is confused
Canada is influenced by both the US and Britain. Canada is on the Metric System but most people weigh themselves in pounds and measure themselves in feet and inches. Our temperature is in Celcius and our speed limits are measured in kilometres.
We follow the British way of writing. We like using the “u” in words like colour and neighbour. We like to flip the “er” with “re” in words like theatre and metre. We speak in acres not hectares and our apartments and homes are measured in square feet not metres. We really have no idea what rules we are following.
13. Tim Horton’s is slowing taking over the world
The coffee is terrible but there is a Tim Horton’s on every corner of every small town in the country. We’ve seen Timmies in Time’s Square, Dubai, and Ireland. Canadian’s just may be plotting to take over the world through Tim Horton’s. When Donald Trump was threatening to build a wall, Canadian’s often joked that the Canada wall would be built out of Tim Horton’s cups. Check out Best Canadian Food to Try in Canada
14. French and English
Canada has two official languages and we learn both French and English in school. But our language system sucks and not many people outside Quebec are bilingual. Everyone assumes most Canadians speak French and English but that’s not the case. Although, we wish it was.
15. Famous Canadians Born on Canada Day
There are two famous Canadians born on Canada Day which is July 1.
- Pamela Anderson – Playboy Playmate, star of Baywatch
- Dan Ackroyd – Famous Canadian Comedian
- Jared Keeso – Canadian Actor and creator of Canadian TV Show Letter Kenny
Some non Canadians born on Canada Day July 1 are are Princess Diana, Missy Elliott, Estee Lauder, and Carl Lewis. Carl Lewis is particularly funny since he is our Canadian nemesis. When Ben Johnson lost his gold medal due to steriods, it went to Carl Lewis. Who in the end turned out to also be on steriods, but he never had his medal stripped. I always knew Lewis was on steroids. He was just better at not getting caught!
16. Santa Clause Resides in Canada
All letters to Santa come to Canada. What is the official address Santa Clause? It’s the North Pole that located in Canada. All letters from around the world go to that address where Canadian volunteers reply in more than 30 languages.
17. Kraft Dinner
7 million boxes of Kraft Dinner (aka macaroni and cheese) are sold around the world. Canadians consume 1.7 million of them. We Canadians consume nearly a third of all macaroni and cheese yet we only make up 0.48% of the world’s population. The Barenaked Ladies (A notable Canadian Rock Band) sang about Kraft Dinner in their song “If I had a Million Dollars”
18. Lentils anyone?
When Dave and I were traveling in Sri Lanka and Nepal, a lot of Dhal was consumed. Dhal’s main ingredient is the humble lentil. India eats a lot of lentils and pretty much the only thing the Nepalese eat is dhal. Billions of people around the world eat lentils. Canadians are not so big on lentils and yet we supply 65% of the world’s lentils., Saskatchewan is the largest exporter of lentils.
19. Canada Has a lot of Lakes
Canada has more freshwater lakes than any other country in the world. We’ve got a lot of water. That makes our future very unpredictable in my humble opinion. Everyone needs water and another interesting fact is that Canada does not have much of a military presence. If someone wants our water, they’ll be able to walk all over us to come and get it.
20. We really love hockey
Most people think that hockey is Canada’s national sport, but it is not. Lacrosse is. But, I will say, more people are into hockey than Lacrosse and we let the world know it. Many of the greatest hockey players, like Wayne Gretzky, Sydney Crosby, Rocket Richard and Gordie Howe were born and raised in Canada. Enjoy: Playing Pond Hockey on Lake Louise
21. We Have our Own Candy in Canada
Canada has different chocolate bars from the United States. Wait, you might know them as Candy Bars. Popular chocolate bars here are:
- Coffee Crisp
- Smarties. We always eat the red ones last.
- Big Turk – my personal favourite
- Dairy Milk
I Am Canadian
We have traveled all around the world and have the option to live anywhere we want. So where did we choose to settle? Canada of course. Canada is our home and native land and we don’t want to live anywhere else. As the saying goes, I am Canadian.
Did we miss any fun facts about Canada Day? Let us know in the comments.