Canada, the world’s largest country (after Russia), is the largest country in the Western Hemisphere and comprises all the North American content north of the United States.
July 1st of each year is Canada’s most significant holiday, equivalent to the Fourth of July in the United States.
Canadians and Americans enjoy a friendly relationship based on geographic proximity, their shared status as ex-colonies of Britain, and a long time economic partnership.
Canada Day is a major national holiday. Government offices, schools, banks and many businesses are closed. Some department stores remain open for the holiday shoppers. The Pen Centre, Vaughna Mills, the Eaton’s Centre and Square One will be open.
In Canada’s capitol of Ottawa, the streets are closed off around Parliament Hill, a site of the main public festivities. July 1st is ‘Moving Day’ in the province of Quebec, with residents vacating and moving into residences around the province. Accordingly, moving vans must be booked a year in advance and mobilty around Montreal may be affected, with streets blocked or traffic slowed on main city streets.
This observance of Canada Day, originally known as Dominion Day, commemorates the passing of the British North American Act on July 1st, 1867. This marked the first step from Canadian independence of Britain. Canada Day includes parades, exhibits with Canadian themes and the display of the Canadian national flag with its hallmark red maple leaf emblem. In the capital city of Ottawa, the Prime Minister gives a speech, a special awards ceremony awards new immigrants citizenship to Canada, ‘O Canada’ is sung and the Royal Canadian Mounties perform their ‘Musical Ride’ on horseback, ending with fireworks display over Parliament Hill.