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Reluctant to Party: A Timeline of Canada Day Celebrations


Canadian Flag with Title - Stock Exchange, Standard Use

How long does it take a country to get in a partying mood?

IMG_4664We Canadians don’t usually turn down a reason to celebrate. In fact, many of us look for what we sometimes call ‘excuses’ to celebrate any type of special occasion with friends and family, and Canada Day is no exception.

Being close-knit, my family preferred intimate gatherings to large boisterous crowds, but we still found different ways to celebrate over the years. I remember afternoons of board games and barbeques, watching fireworks high above Lake Ontario and sunny picnics in Stratford Park.

One of my favourite Canada Day memories took place at one of these picnics. It was during my husband’s early years in the country after relocating from the States. Surrounded by Canada flag paraphernalia, including napkins, miniature flags everywhere and an umbrella hat bearing the maple leaf, not to mention the large billowing flag at the end of our picnic table, we initiated him into our family’s—and our country’s—enthusiastic Canada Day tradition.

IMG_4662It’s hard to miss the energy leading up to Canada Day—the sparklers and fire crackers, those funny red and white hats, incredible food, and everyone with a bounce in their step. With all the energy and ceremony surrounding July first, you’d think we had always been this way.

We haven’t.

In fact, we took over a century to get hyped about celebrating our country’s birthday. Not only were we slow to start the party, but it took federal grants and a royal proclamation to get us moving.

How did we let this happen? Well, let’s start at the beginning:

1867 – The Constitution Act marked Canada’s official beginning when Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec joined to create the kingdom of Canada.

1868 – The following year came the Governor General’s royal proclamation asking Canadians to celebrate.

IMG_46631879 – Twelve years after the Constitution Act, July first was declared a statutory holiday. However, Canada would wait another 38 years before officially celebrating Canada Day, or what was then called Dominion Day.

1917 – Finally, on Canada’s 50th birthday, the country held its first official celebration. Still, it would take nearly 50 more years before the occasion had any real pizazz.

1946 – Canadians squabbled over the name Dominion Day and whether to rename it Canada Day. The idea got as far as the House of Commons, which passed a bill to make the change.

However, the bill stalled when it reached the Senate, as another name was put forward: the National Holiday of Canada. This killed the bill, and Dominion Day would stick around for another 36 years.

1958 – Finally, 91 years after the Constitution Act, the Canadian government planned grandiose celebrations like the kind we’re familiar with today, livening up the country’s capital with music and fireworks. But it took almost decade for even this to catch on.

1967 – Then, on the 100th anniversary of the Constitution Act, the nation’s mood began to shift. With Canadian patriotism on the rise, Dominion Day celebrations took hold in Ottawa and were televised across the country.

But—yes, there’s another but—Canadians spent the next 15 years stuck in front of their television sets watching Ottawa have all the fun.

1980 – Despite Canada’s celebratory progress, the government still noticed a lack of initiative among citizens to host their own events. So the government distributed grants, encouraging cities to plan local activities.

1982 – The British Parliament relinquished the last of its political control over our country in the Canada Act. In response, Canadian politicians suggested again, and succeeded this time, to change the name to Canada Day.

So to answer our original question, it took Canada a total of 115 years to get in a partying mood. But now that we’ve finally arrived let’s keep this party going.

How do you plan to celebrate this year?


Wounded by God’s People, ch2: Life is Hard

Wounded By God's People, by Anne Graham Lotz

Wounded by God’s People, by Anne Graham Lotz

I’m blogging through Anne Graham Lotz’s book, Wounded by God’s People, chapter by chapter. If you’d like to join me, get the book from your favourite retailer or church library, and read along. Please share your thoughts on the book as well, either in the comments below, or in your own blog post. If you do blog about it elsewhere, remember to post your link below!

Anne begins chapter two with the questions, “When do wounds begin? Who can remember the first one? And who can claim a life without them?”

She tells several horrific stories from her childhood and early adulthood, each involving a memorable wound she suffered from individuals such as a stern Sunday school teacher, a cruel headmistress at a Christian boarding school, and “a distinguished elderly lady [at church who] rose from her seat, walked stiffly over to my mother, and with a stern look pronounced judgment on me…”

As she describes this series of wounds, each carried out by Christians in authority, I’m reminded just how deeply familiar she is with the kind of pain and injustice believers are capable of. Her pain makes her relatable to those of us who’ve suffered similar injuries.

Throughout the book, in addition to telling her own story, Anne takes a close look at the life of Abram’s Egyptian servant, Hagar. In this chapter, she introduces a story from Genesis 13 about Lot’s conflict with Abram, interpreting these events through Hagar’s eyes. After seeing the positive difference God made in Abram’s life, Anne focuses on the way Hagar must have felt afterwards, when Abram treated her so unjustly. For anyone who’s been in Hagar’s shoes, there’s a temptation to let our wounds turn us into wounders. This is Anne’s transition to the next chapter, where she takes a closer look at this cycle of being wounded and wounding others in return.

Probably one of the chapter’s highlights, for me, is the decision Anne made years ago that she wouldn’t let rotten ‘Christian’ behavior interfere in her relationship with God. This point resonated with me because it reflected my experience, thanks to the example my parents set during a number of deeply painful encounters with fellow Christians. As a pastor’s kid, I had seen several church leaders manipulate and take advantage of my parents, and yet their relationship with God never changed. As they modelled for my brother and me, once they recognized a situation to be toxic, when people resisted healing and growth, then it was time to find a healthier community. After a couple difficult experiences, we did find a healthier church which had recently come through its own heartache. As their pastor, Dad’s first task was to lead the congregation’s healing process, and in turn, they were a balm to our wounds as well. We found healing together. Meanwhile, my parents’ relationship with God didn’t change. If anything, it was only made stronger.

It was in this church that I became baptized as a teenager. I had been attending a Christian high school with great teachers, great programs, and a good student body. Except, unfortunately, for my class, it seemed. Over the span of four years I languished at the bottom of a very unforgiving social food chain. So when I got baptized, one of the main points in my testimony was that I had made my commitment to God in spite of the un-Christlike witness of many of my Christian peers at school.

I’m reminded of the ‘sinners’ Jesus befriended during His time on earth, and how much they loved Him in spite of the hateful treatment they experienced from the Pharisees. And remember the woman caught in adultery? How different could their reactions have been: The Pharisees wanted to stone her, whereas Jesus gave her another chance at life. It was the difference between Jesus and the Pharisees that drove people to Jesus. In a way, I can say that happened to me as well.

It would be an honour if you chose to join me in reading through Anne Graham Lotz’s book, Wounded by God’s People. I’ll be reflecting on each chapter here on my blog, and I’d love to hear your reflections too.

Thanks for joining me today!



“Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” should be required reading for Christians


"Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A devout Muslim encounters Christianity" by Nabeel Qureshi Amazon U.S. | Amazon Canada

“Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A devout Muslim encounters Christianity” by Nabeel Qureshi
Amazon U.S. | Amazon Canada

I first discovered Nabeel Qureshi through Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, especially RZIM’s YouTube channel. Hearing several talks and Q&A’s with Dr. Qureshi, I couldn’t help but be moved by his testimony, not to mention his rather contagious passion for the defense of the Christian message. Given that I found myself listening to some of his talks more than once, I figured I should get more acquainted with his story through his spiritual memoir, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.

I found this book insightful, gripping, and inspiring, and I believe it should be required reading for Christians for a number of reasons… Western Christians and Muslims don’t understand one another very well. Qureshi begins to bridge the gap by drawing western Christians’ attention to our reputation in the Muslim community and translates the latter’s culture, behaviors, and assumptions to help believers better understand and relate to our Muslim neighbors.

Secondly, his story highlights the embarrassing consequences of encounters between unbelievers who are surprisingly well-informed and Christians who are depressingly uneducated about our own faith and, therefore, unable to answer questions and critiques. The author’s experience should be a lesson to us about the far-reaching impact of our decision whether or not to educate ourselves about our beliefs.

Thirdly, Qureshi’s journey is an example to Christians of what it means to love God with all our mind. I’ve heard people say that working through foundational questions of faith is a waste of time…”no point in reinventing the wheel.” But then I think about Qureshi and other authors like him, and it makes sense. If faith is supposed to be personal, then it has to make sense on a personal level… “All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There’s more to love about this book as well… I’ve shared a similar emotional struggle while examining my Christian beliefs, so I was on the edge of my seat with each question the author set out to answer. I was also moved by the tender memories he shared about his childhood and relationships with his parents. I laughed along with him and his college friend through their hilarious exchanges. And (*spoiler alert*) I was admittedly rather jealous, but ultimately delighted that he had incredible opportunity to dialogue face-to-face with Gary Habermas!

These are just a few reasons I recommend Qureshi’s book. Read more reviews or pick up your own copy of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.


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