O Canada, Our Home and Native Land Canada Day – 01 July

National Day Special By William Hawke

July 1st is Canada Day - Canada's national holiday.

July 1st is Canada Day – Canada's national holiday. This is a day when Canadians across the country and around the world show their pride in their history, culture and achievements. It’s been a day of celebration, where many festivities are held across the country, since 1868. Also, each year young people aged 8 to 18 are invited to express their creativity through arts on what Canada means to them through the Canada Day Challenge.

Remembering Canada and Her Day

I have lived in India for the past 20 years, but I am still a proud Canadian and I remember Canada Day of my early years. I also remember Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh travelling up Bayview Ave in Toronto on their way to visit disabled war veterans at Sunnybrook Hospital. When I was 5 years old and in the first grade, we sang ‘God Save the King’ as the National Anthem at the start of each day. On the morning of 6th February 1952, about a week or so after seeing the pretty princess, I was the first in our household to hear of the passing of King George VI over the radio. We sang ‘God Save the Queen’ that morning.

On 15th February, 1965, the new Canadian Flag was unfurled. I vividly remember that day and how much pride I felt. I was a member of the Royal Canadian Navy at the time.

But Canada still did not really have a national anthem. During my childhood I remember switching between ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘The Maple Leaf Forever’ throughout the years. On April 12th, 1967, however, parliament presented its conclusion that ‘O Canada’ should be designated as Canada’s National Anthem and ‘God Save the Queen’ as the Royal Anthem of Canada. For the uninformed, Canada is a Dominion and not a Republic. Her Majesty the Queen is Canada’s Head of State, and is represented in Canada by a Governor General.

Canada Day

Most communities across the country hold organised celebrations on Canada Day, usually outdoor public events, such as parades, carnivals, festivals, barbecues, air and maritime shows, fireworks, and free musical concerts There is no standard mode of celebration for Canada Day; Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford, Jennifer Welsh said of this: "Canada Day, like the country, is endlessly decentralised. There doesn't seem to be a central recipe for how to celebrate it—chalk it up to the nature of the federation."

The centre of the celebrations however is Ottawa, the national capital, where large concerts and cultural displays are held on Parliament Hill, with the governor general and prime minister typically officiating, though the monarch or another member of the Royal Family may also attend or take the governor general's place. Smaller events are mounted in other parks around the city and in Gatineau, Quebec on the other side of the Ottawa River.

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Diplomatist Magazine was launched in October of 1996 as the signature magazine of L.B. Associates (Pvt) Ltd, a contract publishing house based in Noida, a satellite town of New Delhi, India, the National Capital.

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