Canada Day

Canada Day is a significant event in the Canadian calendar, as it marks the anniversary of the country's founding. It is a time for Canadians to unite and celebrate their heritage, culture, and national identity. As a newcomer to Canada, Canada Day is an opportunity to celebrate your new home and the many wonderful opportunities it has presented you. However, if you're not from Canada, it may be difficult to understand the fuss. What is Canada Day? What day is Canada Day? What to do on Canada Day? What's open on Canada Day?

This guide will answer all your questions and more and give you an understanding of what it means to celebrate the national identity of your new home.

What is Canada Day?

What is Canada Day?

Canada Day is the national day of Canada. It commemorates the joining of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada (now Quebec and Ontario) into a single dominion within the British Empire on July 1, 1867. This event is known as the Confederation and marked the beginning of Canada as a self-governing nation. Today, Canadians across the country and around the world come together to celebrate their shared history, culture, and achievements.

The origin of Canada Day can be traced back to the 19th century when the British colonies in North America sought greater autonomy and cooperation. The push for Confederation was led by Sir John A. Macdonald, George-Étienne Cartier, and other prominent politicians. After much negotiation and debate, the British North America Act was passed by the British Parliament, and on July 1st, 1867, the Dominion of Canada was officially established.

The first Canada Day, then Dominion Day, was celebrated with great fanfare, including parades, fireworks, and public events. Over the years, the name was changed to Canada Day, and the occasion has grown in significance and popularity. Today is a statutory holiday across the country, and Canadians from all walks of life come together to celebrate their shared heritage and pride in their nation.

When is Canada Day, and How is it Celebrated?

Canada Day is observed on July 1st every year. If the date falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is recognized as a statutory holiday. The celebrations for Canada Day are diverse and include a wide range of activities and events. From parades and fireworks to concerts and picnics, there are numerous ways for Canadians to come together and mark this special day.

Parliament Hill Celebration

The nation's capital, Ottawa, traditionally hosts a large celebration on Parliament Hill, with live music, speeches, and performances. The day's highlight is a spectacular fireworks display over the Ottawa River from vantage points across the city. In cities and towns nationwide, Canadians also gather for community events, barbeques, and other festivities to mark the occasion, including live performances by Canadian artists.

Osborne Village Street Festival

Apart from the regional celebrations mentioned earlier, other cities and towns throughout the country also organize unique local events. Manitoba holds its annual Osborne Village Street Festival in Winnipeg, featuring various food vendors, artisans, and entertainers. Meanwhile, in New Brunswick, Fredericton hosts an outdoor concert showcasing talented local musicians and a ceremonial changing of the guard at City Hall.

Party on the Ocean

If you're in Nova Scotia, Halifax boasts a lively waterfront party with a parade of tall ships and live entertainment throughout the day, for those in Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's presents its annual Memorial Day Ceremony at The Rooms Museum and Archives before launching into Canada Day festivities.

Celebrate Canada Day Online

In recent years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual celebrations have become more popular to enjoy Canada Day safely and responsibly. As an outsider, online events, live streams, and interactive experiences allow you to join the festivities from the comfort of your home. Many cities and organizations have made Canada Day events available online, including virtual concerts, art exhibitions, and educational resources.

Regardless of where you find yourself in this vast country on July 1st, there will surely be something fun and engaging to enjoy. From outdoor concerts and parades to living flag events and fireworks shows over rivers.

To participate in virtual Canada Day celebrations, watch your local municipality's official websites, social media channels, Canadian heritage, and other cultural institutions for updates and event information.

Want to join in on the Canada Day celebration? Find out how you can start your journey to Canada.

What to Do on Canada Day

What to Do on Canada Day

There is no shortage of activities and events to enjoy on Canada Day. Depending on your location and interests, here are some ideas for what to do on Canada Day:

  • Attend a Canada Day parade or community event in your local area.
    • You can check the official pages for municipal and national celebrations to help plan your Canada Day activities.
  • Visit a national park or historic site, as many offer free admission on Canada Day.
    • Learn more about Canada's national parks.
  • Enjoy a Canada Day-themed picnic or barbecue with friends and family.
    • You can make it more festive by incorporating red and white decorations and serving Canadian-themed food.
  • Attend a fireworks display or organize safe, small-scale fireworks show in your backyard or neighborhood.
    • You can watch virtual fireworks for Canada Day if you cannot set off fireworks.
  • Participate in virtual Canada Day events, such as online concerts, workshops, or educational activities.
    • You can check out the Parks Canada website for summer events, including celebrations for Canada Day. 
  • Create your own Canada Day crafts, such as making flags, decorating t-shirts, or creating a Canadian-themed collage.
    • You can find inspiration and tutorials online.
  • Bake a Canada Day-themed dessert, like a red and white cake or maple leaf-shaped cookies.
    • You can find recipes online or come up with your creative ideas.
  • Host a family game night with Canadian-themed trivia or board games.
    • You can find Canadian-themed games online or create your trivia questions.
  • Watch a family-friendly Canadian film or television show.
    • You can find Canadian content on streaming services or rent a DVD from a local library.
  • Learn about Canadian history and culture by exploring online resources or visiting a local museum or historic site. 
    • Each of Canada's major cities has various important cultural and heritage sites. Learn more about what's in your city in Canada.

What's Open On Canada Day: A Guide for Planning Your Day

On Canada Day, many retail stores, shopping centers, and grocery stores will be closed or operating at reduced hours. Public transportation may run on a holiday schedule, so checking with your local transit provider for details is best. Banks, government offices, and post offices will also be closed.

However, many restaurants, bars, and cafes will remain open, though checking with individual establishments for their hours is best. National parks, historic sites, and other tourist attractions may be open, with some offering free admission on Canada Day. For example, Parks Canada offers free admission to its national sites and parks on Canada Day. Historic sites and attractions like the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site may offer free admission on Canada Day.

How to Make the Best of Your First Canada Day

If you are a newcomer to Canada or experiencing your first Canada Day, here are a few tips to help you make the most of the celebrations:

  • Wear red and white, the colors of the Canadian flag, to show your Canadian pride.
  • Learn the national "O Canada" anthem and sing at public events.
  • Attend a local Canada Day event to meet fellow community members and experience the festivities firsthand.
  • Explore Canadian culture by trying Canadian foods, watching Canadian films, or learning about Canadian history.
  • Contact friends, neighbors, or local organizations for advice on celebrating Canada Day in your area.


What is Closed on Canada Day?

On Canada Day, most banks, government offices, post offices, and some retail stores will be closed. Public transportation may run on a holiday schedule, and some restaurants and tourist attractions may have reduced hours. It's best to check with the establishment for their Canada Day hours.

What are Some Traditional Ways to Celebrate Canada Day?

Traditional Canada Day celebrations include attending parades, community events, and fireworks displays, wearing red and white clothing, flying the Canadian flag, and singing the national anthem. However, there are countless ways to mark the occasion, depending on your location, interests, and personal preferences.

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day is a time for Canadians to unite and celebrate their nation's rich history, culture, and achievements. Whether you attend a local event, participate in a virtual celebration, or spend the day with loved ones, there are countless ways to honor our nation's heritage on this special day. Happy Canada Day!

If you want to join in on the Canadian celebrations, you will likely need a Canadian visa to come to Canada. However, knowing which visa is right for you can be daunting as Canada has over 100 visa and immigration programs. One of the best ways you ensure you choose the visa or immigration program that's right for you is to consult with a certified Canadian immigration professional like a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). Start your journey this Canada Day!