The Fredericton Region Museum would like to commemorate Canada Day 2023 with an article by the museum’s own Aidan Keenan:
This year’s July 1st celebrations mark the 156th anniversary of the British North America Act that confederated New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec into the Dominion of Canada. Since 1867, Canada has added several provinces and territories to its Confederation and cast off its status as a Dominion of the British Crown. However, July 1st remains a celebration of our collective home.
Looking at the origins of the holiday, Canada’s status as a British Dominion lies at the heart of Canada Day’s creation. Some readers may remember that before 1982 “Canada’s Birthday,” as July 1st is sometimes called, was officially dubbed Dominion Day. Officially, July 1st was designated a holiday by the Governor General, Lord Monck, on June 20th , 1868, and made a statutory holiday in 1879. The nature of the holiday was slightly different prior to its revised nomenclature, as it was generally associated with Loyalist and Anglo-Canadian culture. Celebrations were often held in Ottawa, and sporadically in other parts of Canada, but the holiday was not synonymous with parades and large festivities until the second half of the twentieth century.
A notable exception was the Diamond Jubilee ceremony held in 1927, where a large federal committee was formed to organize nationwide celebrations. However, 1982 saw a turning point for Canada’s birthday as it was renamed from Dominion Day to Canada Day. This shift in nomenclature was part of Canada’s wider effort towards patriation. In 1982 the Canadian constitution was completely patriated, and the British parliament, which could previously directly influence the Canadian Government, was stripped of its legislative power in Canada. Essentially, Canada was no longer a British dominion and was instead a completely independent nation for the first time ever. As such, the anniversary of Confederation—the first step in the long journey to patriation—was re-designated, and redefined, as Canada Day.
The Fredericton Region Museum would like to welcome visitors on Canada Day, as we celebrate Canada’s birthday. Our new exhibit honours the rich imagination and artistic talent of Fredericton’s own Mary Grannan, who is best known across Canada as the author of the Maggie Muggins series of children’s stories and CBC broadcasts.
Additionally, we have many more exhibits covering the breadth of diversity that makes Canada what it is today, honouring Wabanaki peoples, Pointe Sainte-Anne, Fredericton, and the infamous Coleman Frog.
We look forward to seeing you all on July 1st this year, and happy Canada Day!