Toronto. What a great day to celebrate! On this day in 1867, our country took on a life of its own. And we owe it all to our dear friensd to the south, The American civil war of the 1860s finally woke the British politicians to a realization that they may lose ALL of their footholds in North America to the USA. On July 1st, 1867 four of the Eastern British colonies merged to form the Dominion of Canada: Ontario (Canada West), Quebec (Canada East), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.
The western most colony, British Columbia refused to join until it was linked to the Eastern colonies. The Canadian government decided a railroad was in order, not just a simple road to shorten the then 4 month trip by sea. Hassles and corruption broke out. Finally an American, William Van Horne took over the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). Van Horne, born in Illinois, moved to Montreal, built a mansion, lived, and died in that city (although his body was returned to Illinois for burial).
We have always admired our bigger neighbour to the south, although we stayed loyally British until well after the second world war. Canada followed the British in both law and government. As a award to the French in Canada East, Quebec Civil Law remained under the Napoleonic Code and in later years Quebec became unilingually French. Ironically, the rest of the country is bilingual English and French.
So, happy Canada Day, y’all! Or if you happen to be in La Belle Province, “joyeux jour du Canada”!