More important events have taken place in Canada on July 1 than on any other day of the year, but first place will always be retained by Confederation Day, 1867. This was Canada’s birthday, although Canada then included only Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Most nations were born of adversity, unhappy occasions, often due to war. Canada was born of diversity, a curious blending of races, geography and economics.
For the most part, her birthday was a happy occasion. In Ottawa, church bells began ringing after midnight, June 30. There was also a 101-gun salute, while 21-gun salutes were fired in other centres. In Saint John and Halifax, however, a number of merchants were so opposed to Confederation that they draped their stores in crêpe!
There was a drab ceremony in the Privy Council chamber, where Lord Monck was sworn in as governor-general by Chief Justice Draper. After the cabinet ministers had taken their oaths of office, Lord Monck, who hated pomp as much as Macdonald loved it, announced that Queen Victoria had made John A. Macdonald a Knight Commander of the Bath, which meant they would have no titles. This was a mistake. Cartier and Galt were so angry that they refused the decorations. Later, however, they were made baronets.
The rest of the day has been summed up beautifully by W. G. Hardy in From Sea Unto Sea. He wrote:
“The official part of the ceremonies was completed by midday. Then, across the Dominion, but more particularly in what had been the province of Canada, the people went on holiday. In Canada East, renamed Quebec, it was flags and bunting and family parties, and a cricket game at Trois Rivières. Canada West, which had now become Ontario, favoured brass bands, regattas, races, and the like. In the more remote centres the farmers gathered in the local fairgrounds or picnic places for a program of sports and a country supper of salads, cold meats, pies and cakes, at tables set up on trestles under the trees. As the soft July night floated down, the villages, towns and cities were bright with Chinese lanterns on the porches and with fireworks and illuminations. The people, the inchoate mass without articulate voice, sensed that something of significance had occurred!“
Do you like the photo included in today’s post? Yes, I thought so. Nancy Rose not only provided us with beautiful photos of “The secret life of squirrels“, which will definitely give you a smile but you can also order a calendar from her (a steal at $22 + shipping) ! I ordered one from her, and I proudly have it next to me, and I confess that I go through it often, just to smile! Be sure to visit her site at Flickr.com!!
- 1867 competes with 1812, 1608 and 1982 as ‘founding’ dates in Canadian history (theprovince.com)
- Social Studies 10 “Remembering John A. MacDonald” (jhss10clodiagorgis.wordpress.com)
- If You Had a Circus … (tkmorin.wordpress.com)
- The Corruptionists, You Say? (tkmorin.wordpress.com)
- Happy Dominion Day (whitenewsnow.com)
- Fathers of Confederation would be proud of Canada at 146: Editorial (thestar.com)
- Famous Music Producers Born in Canada (music.answers.com)