John’s Believe It Or Not… July 1st

It’s Canada Day! Our 151st Birthday!

Canada Day is the national day of Canada. A federal statutory holiday, it celebrates the anniversary of July 1, 1867, coming into force of the Constitution Act, 1867 (then called the British North America Act, 1867), which united the three separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada. Originally called Dominion Day, the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year the Canada Act was passed. Canada Day celebrations take place throughout the country, as well as in various locations around the world, attended by Canadians living abroad.

Canada Day, every July 1st celebrates Confederation. Here fireworks explode over Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Canada Day, every July 1st celebrates Confederation. Here fireworks explode over Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (Canada Alive! – WordPress.com)

Although Canada existed prior to 1867, within both the French and British empires, Canada Day is often informally referred to as “Canada’s birthday”, particularly in the popular press. However, the term “birthday” can be seen as an oversimplification, as Canada Day is the anniversary of only one important national milestone on the way to the country’s full independence, namely the joining on July 1, 1867, of the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a wider British federation of four provinces (the colony of Canada being divided into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec upon Confederation). Canada became a “kingdom in its own right” within the British Empire named the Dominion of Canada.

Painting of 'The Fathers of Confederation' on display in the Railway Committee Room
Painting of ‘The Fathers of Confederation’ on display in the Railway Committee Room (The Globe and Mail)

Although still a British colony, Canada gained an increased level of political control and governance over its own affairs, the British parliament and Cabinet maintaining political control over certain areas, such as foreign affairs, national defence, and constitutional changes. Canada gradually gained increasing independence over the years, notably with the passage of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, until finally becoming completely independent with the passing of the 1982 Constitution Act which served to fully patriate the Canadian constitution.

Canada Day fireworks in Toronto.
Canada Day fireworks in Toronto. (narcity.com)

Under the federal Holidays Act, Canada Day is observed on July 1, unless that date falls on a Sunday, in which case July 2 is the statutory holiday. Celebratory events will generally still take place on July 1, even though it is not the legal holiday. If it falls on a Saturday, any businesses normally closed that day will usually dedicate the following Monday (July 3) as a day off.

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 29th

* 1922 – France formally transfers ownership of 100 hectares at Vimy Ridge to Canada. * 1613 The Globe Theater burns down * 1995 U.S. space shuttle docks with Russian space station * 1967 Actress Jayne Mansfield dies in car crash * 2003 Katharine Hepburn dies at age 96

It’s Friday! TGIF! Did You Know…

* 1922 – France formally transfers ownership of 100 hectares at Vimy Ridge to Canada.

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is a war memorial site in France dedicated to the memory of Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during the First World War. It also serves as the place of commemoration for Canadian soldiers of the First World War killed or presumed dead in France who have no known grave. The monument is the centerpiece of a 100-hectare (250-acre) preserved battlefield park that encompasses a portion of the ground over which the Canadian Corps made their assault during the initial Battle of Vimy Ridge offensive of the Battle of Arras. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 29th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 28th

* 1981 – Terry Fox Dies in Vancouver. * 1953 Workers assemble first Corvette in Flint, Michigan * 1914 Archduke Ferdinand assassinated * 1919 Keynes predicts economic chaos * 1888 Robert Louis Stevenson sets sail for the South Seas

It’s Thursday! Did You Know…

* 1981 – Terry Fox Dies in Vancouver.

Terrance Stanley (Terry) Fox, CC, OBC, athlete, humanitarian, cancer research activist (born 28 July 1958 in Winnipeg, MB; died 28 June 1981 in New Westminster, BC). Terry Fox inspired the nation and the world through his courageous struggle against cancer and his determination to raise funds for cancer research. Not long after losing his right leg to cancer, Fox decided to run across Canada to raise awareness and money for cancer research. He ran from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Thunder Bay, Ontario, covering 5,373 km in 143 days, but was forced to halt his Marathon of Hope when cancer invaded his lungs. He died shortly before his 23rd birthday. The youngest person to be made a Companion of the Order of Canada, he was also named a Person of National Historic Significance by the Government of Canada and was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. His courage and determination have inspired millions of people around the world, many of whom participate in the annual Terry Fox Run for cancer research. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 28th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 27th

* 2003 – Canadian Multiculturalism Day First Celebrated * 1829 Smithson’s curious bequest * 1922 First Newbery Medal for children’s literature * 1968 Elvis Presley tapes his famous TV “comeback special” * 1963 JFK visits Ireland

It’s Hump Day Wednesday! Did You Know… Today is Canadian Multiculturalism Day…

* 2003 – Canadian Multiculturalism Day First Celebrated

A policy of multiculturalism was officially adopted by the Government of Canada under Pierre Trudeau during the 1970s and 1980s. The Canadian federal government has been described as the instigator of multiculturalism as an ideology because of its public emphasis on the social importance of immigration. The 1960s Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism is often referred to as the origin of modern political awareness of multiculturalism. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 27th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 26th

* 1959 – Queen Elizabeth II officially opens 318 km long St. Lawrence Seaway with US President Eisenhower. * 1917 First U.S. troops arrive in France * 1945 U.N. Charter signed * 1975 Sonny and Cher’s divorce becomes final * 1993 Clinton punishes Iraq for plot to kill Bush

It’s Tuesday! Did You Know…

* 1959 – Queen Elizabeth II officially opens 318 km long St. Lawrence Seaway with US President Eisenhower.

The St Lawrence Seaway (Great Lakes Waterway) is the system of locks, canals and channels linking the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence River with the Atlantic Ocean. The construction of progressively larger canals along the St Lawrence River began as early as 1783. By 1900, a complete network of shallow draft canals allowed uninterrupted navigation from Lake Superior to Montréal. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 26th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 25th

* 1968 – Pierre Trudeau wins majority in 28th federal general election. * 1876 Battle of Little Bighorn * 1950 Korean War begins * 1993 Kim Campbell takes office * 2009 “King of Pop” Michael Jackson dies at age 50

It’s Monday! Did You Know…

* 1968 – Pierre Trudeau wins majority in 28th federal general election.

The Canadian federal election of 1968 was held on June 25, 1968, to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 28th Parliament of Canada. The Liberal Party won a majority government under its new leader, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

Trudeau, who was a relative unknown until he was appointed to the cabinet by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, had won a surprise victory over Paul Joseph James Martin, Paul Hellyer and Robert Winters in the party’s leadership election earlier in 1968. The charismatic, intellectual, handsome, single, and fully bilingual Trudeau soon captured the hearts and minds of the nation, and the period leading up to the election saw such intense feelings for him that it was dubbed “Trudeaumania.” At public appearances, he was confronted by screaming girls, something never before seen in Canadian politics. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 25th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 22nd

* 1774 – Parliament passes the Québec Act – backs Catholic religion and the French civil code. * 1633 Galileo Galilei forced to recant his Copernican views that the Earth orbits the Sun by the Pope (Vatican only admits it was wrong on Oct 31, 1992!) * 1611 Hudson set adrift by mutineers * 1962 Mysterious crash in Guadeloupe * 1937 Louis becomes champ

It’s Friday! TGIF! Did You Know…

* 1774 – Parliament passes the Québec Act – backs Catholic religion and the French civil code.

Question: Why was Quebec allowed to maintain its French character while Louisiana could not?

n 1763, after a century of imperial warfare in North America, which included a decisive British victory at the Plains of Abraham, France ceded much of its North American territory, including Île Royale (Cape Breton Island), Canada and its holdings in the Great Lakes Basin and east of the Mississippi (except New Orleans), to Great Britain with the signing of the Treaty of Paris (see also Conquest). Subsequently, the Royal Proclamation (also adopted in 1763) integrated these new territorial gains and its people into Britain’s North American empire. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 22nd”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 21st

* Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day * 1964 The KKK kills three civil rights activists * 1990 Earthquake devastates Iran * 1956 Arthur Miller refuses to name communists * 1965 Mr. Tambourine Man is released and the folk-rock revolution is on

It’s Thursday! It’s Summer!

It’s National Indigenous Peoples Day!

Did You Know…

* Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day

National Aboriginal Day is a day recognizing and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Indigenous peoples in Canada. The day was first celebrated in 1996, after it was proclaimed that year by then Governor General of Canada Roméo LeBlanc, to be celebrated on 21 June annually. 21 June was chosen as the statutory holiday for many reasons-including its cultural significance as the Summer solstice, and the fact that it is a day on which many Aboriginal groups traditionally celebrate their heritage. On 21 June 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement pledging to rename the event National Indigenous Peoples Day. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 21st”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 20th

* 1877 – Great Fire of Saint John destroys business district. * 1789 Third Estate makes Tennis Court Oath * 1900 Boxer Rebellion begins in China * 1977 Oil flows in Alaska * 1975 Jaws released

It’s Hump Day Wednesday! Did You Know…

* 1877 – Great Fire of Saint John destroys business district.

In late June 1877, Saint John, New Brunswick, was laid waste by a devastating fire.

It began about 2:30 on the afternoon of 20 June when a spark fell into a bundle of hay in Henry Fairweather’s storehouse in the York Point Slip area, which in present day is in the vicinity of Market Square. It is unknown where the spark originated. It may have come from McLaughlan & Son’s boiler shop next door or may have been carried from a nearby sawmill. The month of June had been warm, with fine weather and little or no rain. Wooden structures predominant in Saint John at this time were tinder dry and highly flammable. When the fire was discovered it was already burning rapidly in large bundles of hay and aided by a fresh, strong breeze it rapidly escalated into a major conflagration. Within two minutes of the alarm sounding, Engine #3 was dousing the fire. Although other engines followed immediately, the fire had already spread by means of heat and sparks to other wooden structures nearby. At times, the fire reached temperatures perhaps so high some buildings exploded into flames without actual contact with the fire. This prompted fearful rumors that the fire was intentionally set. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 20th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 19th

* 1625 – Jean de Brébeuf and first permanent Jesuit missionaries arrive at Québec. * 1829 Sir Robert Peel introduces the Metropolitan Police Act 1829 into Parliament to establish a unified police force for London * 1864 USS Kearsarge sinks CSS Alabama * 1867 Emperor of Mexico executed * 1970 Carole King has her first #1 hit as a performer

It’s Tuesday! Did You Know…

* 1625 – Jean de Brébeuf and first permanent Jesuit missionaries arrive at Québec.

Spurred by the inspirational writings of their founder and unswerving in their obedience to the papacy, the Jesuits quickly became known as the schoolmasters of Europe – teaching not only the tenets of the Catholic faith but also subjects as varied as the Latin classics and dancing. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 19th”

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