First, a little background: Canada Day is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire. Originally called Dominion Day , the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year the Canada Act was passed. Canada Day observances take place throughout Canada as well as among Canadians internationally.
Now, on with my story . . .
My Grade seven teacher had been harping on endlessly about this important date.
Something about it being Canada’s Centennial.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Canada.
And had celebrated her July 1 birthday with great enthusiasm for each of my 12 years.
I just didn’t see what made this particular birthday so important. Centennial? What did that mean?
Okay, maybe I was just a bit stuck inside my own world . . .
But I was more than willing to go to choir practice to perfect our renditions of ‘Oh Canada!’ and ‘God Save the Queen’.
And excitedly discuss the day’s planned activities with my friends.
And anticipate a holiday, even though it didn’t include missing school.
The day dawned, clear and bright.
And my family wandered over to the newly-erected ‘cairn’ down by the Milk River.
And grinning, happy people were beginning to gather.
Lots of people.
I excitedly greeted my friends as they arrived.
Finally came the time for us to assemble on some risers set up near the cairn.
There was clapping and excitement.
To further applause.
And then, the speeches.
And, suddenly, I realized what it was that everyone was emotional about.
My country, this country that I loved, was 100 years old.
That was significant.
And I was a part of it.
It was 46 years ago.
Today, my country is 146 years old.Happy Birthday, my beloved Canada.