The Scott Ross: Our First Canada Day

Our country was going to be called “Kingdom of Canada” instead of Dominion, but the British, fearing it would provoke the Americans, unilaterally changed it.

The greatest thing we can do to celebrate our country is to know more about it. And certainly learning about Canada and celebrating it need not be separate; below are a few quotes made on our first Canada Day July 1st 1867:

“Died! Last night at twelve o’clock, the free and enlightened Province of Nova Scotia.”- The Halifax Morning Chronicle, a newspaper that thought confederation would hurt Nova Scotia.

“With the first dawn of this gladsome midsummer morn, we hail the birthday of a new nationality.”- George Brown, a father of confederation

“This new Dominion of ours came into existence on the 1st, and the very newspapers look hot and tired with the weight of announcements and of cabinet lists. Here–in this house–the atmosphere is so awfully political that sometimes I think the very flies hold Parliament on the kitchen tablecloths.”- From the diary of Lady Agnes Macdonald, the wife of our first Prime Minister.

“La seule voie nous soit offerte pour arriver à l’independance politique.”- La Minerve, a newspaper in Quebec on the province being a part of a new Canada. (Rough translation: “The only way offered to us to achieve political independence.”)

And lastly a favourite quote of George-Étienne Cartier, another father of confederation, made a few years before our first Canada Day:

“Now, when we are united together, if union is attained, we shall form a political nationality with which neither the national origin, nor the religion of any individual, will interfere…. In our own Federation we will have Catholic and Protestant, English, French, Irish and Scotch, and each by his efforts and his success will increase the prosperity and glory of the new Confederacy….We are of different races, not for the purpose of warring against each other, but in order to compete and emulate for the general welfare.”

This material was from Richard Gwyn’s excellent book, John A, The Man Who Made Us.

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