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Reflecting on the Past 145 Years of Canadian History

June 20, 2012

This year, as we celebrate Canada’s 145th birthday on July 1, Canadians will gather to celebrate the many things that unite us as a nation. We are a country that is rich in history, culture, and achievements, and Canada Day 2012 serves as an opportune time to celebrate some of the historical milestones taking place this year.

One of these milestones is the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, which was a defining moment in the history of Canada.  In 1812, the fight for Canada laid the foundation for Confederation and the cornerstones of our political institutions.  Against great odds, it took the combined efforts of British, French, and Aboriginal Canadians to repel the American invasion and defend Canada in a time of crisis.  It was during the War of 1812 that Laura Secord emerged as a Canadian heroine after warning British forces of an impending American attack, resulting in a joint British and Aboriginal victory at the Battle of Beaver Dams.

The War of 1812 also ensured that Canada was able to emerge during the 19th century as an independent and free country. From this war, Canada emerged united under the Crown with a respect for linguistic and ethnic diversity.  Had this war ended differently, and had the American invasion not been repelled, Canada as we know it would not exist. The end of the war also marked the beginning of uniquely enduring peaceful relations, cooperation, and friendship between Canada and America.  To celebrate this important historical event, the government recently launched the 1812 exhibition presented by the Canadian War Museum.  The 1812 exhibition in Ottawa also includes a travelling exhibition that will bring the stories of the War of 1812 to communities across Canada.

In 1867, several decades after the War of 1812, the three colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the United Province of Canada united as the Dominion of Canada at Confederation.  On June 20, 1868, Governor General Lord Monck signed a proclamation calling upon all to join in the celebration of the anniversary of the formation of the union of British North America colonies in a federation called Canada on July 1.  In 1879, the July 1 holiday was established by statute under the name Dominion Day, now known by most as Canada Day.

Canada has come a long way in the 145 years since Confederation, and there will be countless Canada Day celebrations taking place from coast to coast to celebrate our nation’s progress.  I hope to see you at one of the many events I will be attending across Wellington-Halton Hills.

To learn more about Canada Day and the War of 1812, please visit www.pch.gc.ca. You are encouraged to contact me if you have any questions or comments.  I can be reached by phone at 1-866-878-5556 or by email at michael.chong@parl.gc.ca.


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