Thursday, July 06, 2006

Happy Birthday Canada (report from July 1st in Ottawa)

Here a small description of my first Canada Day in Ottawa (actually my first Canada Day in Canada... or my first Canada Day in absolute as I didn't know about it before coming here).

For all the foreigners: what is Canada Day

Canada Day celebrates the creation of the dominion of Canada through the British North America Act on July 1, 1867, uniting three British territories — the Province of Canada, made up of Canada East and Canada West, and politically united since 1840 (southern Ontario and southern Quebec), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick — into a federation, and creating the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. (

More about it...(wiki says): A proclamation was issued by Governor General Lord Monck, on June 20, 1868, asking for "all Her Majesty's loving subjects throughout Canada to join in the celebration of the anniversary of the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of Canada on July 1."

The Interesting thing is that in Quebec also has Moving Day on 1 July (
read this interesting story here), due to the fact that most leases there begin and end on that day, with many people changing residences. Federalist Quebec residents who oppose the popular sovereigntist campaign for an independent Québec joke that Moving Day is scheduled to ensure Quebecers are too busy moving house to celebrate Canada Day.

What happens in Ottawa

Well.... first of all AIESEC usually organizes a reception event for other Canadians and foreign interns...and friends... to come and experience CanadaDay in the capital. Apparently Ottawa is the best place in Canada where to spend Canada Day (it's very fun indeed).

People come to Ottawa and crowd Ottawa's downtown for July the first. Almost everyone is dressed with the national colours (red and white) and has some flag around (we also saw some Swiss t-shirts around). In the downtown there are shows (concerts), the change of the guard, people, dogs...and turtles (as you can see in the pic) dressed up for Canada Day.

Usually locals start with a barbecue somewhere to then join the downtown at night to sing the national anthem and see the fireworks (rain during fireworks is part of the tradition apparently).
I had to go as well a bit later in the afternoon but for personal priority reasons... there were two world cup games, one at 11am (Portugal-England) and one at 3pm(Brasil-France). Canada Day is every year.... The World Cup once every four years... :) (I could see a lot of the show anyways)

The funniest thing I have seen is.... police men doing their job! meaning pouring beer cans into garbages in the street. Here in Canada people are not allowed to drink alchool in the streets... so police men have to confiscate it. So that people can go to bars to get drunk. Because, apparently, getting drunk in Canada Day is part of the tradition as well! (preferably with Canadian Beer of course). Another funny thing was to discover, after taking a picture with them, that one of the Canadian guards in front of the Parliament building...was an italian. So Switzerland is not the only country exporting guards for tourist use ;) ).

Here some of the pictures:

Canadian guy with canadian face :) (is that really a Maple leaf?)

Red and white Lukas and Chiara
After the Ninja turtles.... the Canadian turtle :)
With the farmer's parade at the back (manifestation against subsidized imports)


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