Happy Canada Day! Bonne fête du Canada!
With the 4th of July approaching, many of our American colleagues are preparing to celebrate their Independence Day. As Canadians we are used to being mistaken for Americans and are often asked if we also celebrate the 4th of July. Well, the answer is NOPE! We have our own big day to celebrate and that’s Canada Day on July 1st. Whether inside our borders or as expats across the sea, Canadians all over the world love to celebrate this date that marks the birth of our nation when we gained independence from Britain. And “Oh Canada” we know how to celebrate!
With school normally finishing at the end of June, Canada Day is the official start of summer for almost everyone in the country. We celebrate with parades, barbecues, carnivals, citizenship ceremonies, fairs and fireworks, and of course lots of travel across the country to visit family & friends. You will see red and white maple leaf flags waved across the land, people with maple leaves painted on their faces or temporary tattoos on their cheeks, arms and foreheads.
The biggest public celebration is held in Ottawa, our nation’s capital. Parliament Hill hosts half a million people on its grounds, with picnics and family events running through the day and concerts with headline artists coming alight on stage in the evening. The party ends with majestic fireworks over the newly restored Parliament buildings.
If you are lucky you might even spot royalty in the crowd. The Prime Minister and the Governor General (the Queen’s representative in Canada) always attend the Ottawa party, but we have also hosted the Queen, Queen Mother, Prince Charles, and Diana, the Princess of Wales over the years.
As many in-person festivities are back this year and travel restrictions being lifted to enter Canada (vaccinated travelers no longer require pre-arrival COVID testing), we expect a lot of visitors. If you are planning to experience Canada Day yourself and want to celebrate like a true “Canuck”, here are some great ways to say “Happy Birthday” to this great nation that are uniquely Canadian:
- Enjoy a Beaver Tail – sounds kind of weird but it’s delicious. It’s a fried- dough pastry pulled by hand to resemble the long flat tail of the Beaver (the national animal of Canada). It’s then topped with all kinds of delicious garnishes like cinnamon, sugar or chocolate paste.
- Find a food-truck and enjoy the ultimate in comfort food: Poutine. It is a Québécois dish made of fresh-cut french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy.
- Eat pancakes with homemade maple syrup. Did you know about 80% of the maple syrup in the world is produced in Canada? That’s the reason Maple is part of many symbols representing Canada.
- Go moose sighting. We have over 45 national parks across the country and if you’re lucky you may catch a glimpse.
- Visit our famous lakes. Canada is blessed with more lakes than any other country in the world, with 563 lakes and the longest coastline in the world so grab a chair with a Molson Canadian beer, and take in the beauty of this vast country.