Canada Day

Here are a few things that I have Learned over the past few years about Canada:

July 1st, Canada Day, marks the anniversary of the Canadian Confederation in 1867 and the birth of Canada as a nation.

It wasn’t until 1965 that Canada had her own flag.  The Canadian red and white maple leaf flag is officially called The National Flag of Canada. The Canadian flag shows a stylized red maple leaf with 11 points on a white background, with red borders down each side. The Canadian flag is twice as long as it is wide. The white square containing the red maple leaf is the same width as the flag.  The red and white used in the National Flag of Canada were proclaimed the official colours of Canada in 1921 by King George V. Although the maple leaf did not have official status as an emblem of Canada until the proclamation of the national flag in 1965, it had historically been used as a Canadian symbol, and was used in 1860 in decorations for the visit of the Prince of Wales to Canada. The 11 points on the maple leaf have no special significance.  The suggestion for a red and white single maple leaf design for the Canadian flag came from George Stanley, a professor at Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario.  In his speech at the national flag inauguration ceremony, Prime Minister Lester Pearson said:

“Under this Flag may our youth find new inspiration for loyalty to Canada; for a patriotism based not on any mean or narrow nationalism, but on the deep and equal pride that all Canadians will feel for every part of this good land.”

“O Canada” was proclaimed Canada’s national anthem on July 1, 1980, 100 years after it was first sung on June 24, 1880. The music was composed by Calixa Lavallée, a well-known composer; French lyrics to accompany the music were written by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The song gained steadily in popularity. Many English versions have appeared over the years. The version on which the official English lyrics are based was written in 1908 by Mr. Justice Robert Stanley Weir. The official English version includes changes recommended in 1968 by a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons. The French lyrics remain unaltered.  These are the “Official” English Lyrics:

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

And since Canada IS a Biligual country, here they are in French, the language that the Anthem was originally written in:

Ô Canada!

O Canada! Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!

Car ton bras sait porter l’épée,
Il sait porter la croix!

Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.

Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

Protégera nos foyers et nos droits. 

The origin of the name “Canada” comes from the expedition of explorer Jacques Cartier up the St. Lawrence River in 1535. The Iroquois pointing out the route to the village of Stadacona, the future site of Quebec City, used the word “kanata,” the Huron-Iroquois word for village. Jacques Cartier used the word Canada to refer to both the settlement of Stadacona and the land surrounding it subject to Chief Donnacona.

By 1547, maps were showing the name Canada applied to everything north of the St. Lawrence River. The St. Lawrence River was called the “rivière du Canada” by Cartier, and the name stuck until the 1600s.

In the 1600s, the name Canada was often used loosely to refer to New France, and as land opened up to the west and south in the 1700s, the name Canada was applied to what is now the American midwest and as far south as present day Louisiana. But it was not official.

In 1791, the Constitutional Act or Canada Act divided the Province of Quebec into two – the colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada. In 1841, the two colonies were united again, this time as the Province of Canada.

At Confederation in 1867, the British North America Act officially joined the Province of Canada (Quebec and Ontario) with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to become “one Dominion under the name of Canada.”

HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!

Thanks to  Susan Munroe from About.com for all of the Info.

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