Canada Day 2011: What Is It, and Are Stores Open?
Canada Day: 'Canada's Birthday'
Canada Day, observed on July 1, originally commemorated the formation of Canada as part of the British Empire. On July 1, 1867, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada were combined by the British North American Act. Originally, Canada Day was called Dominion Day.
In 1982, Canada gained independence from Great Britain (though the Queen still hangs around on its currency), and Dominion Day became the Canada Day that we all now know. Well, at least after reading this article.
Are Stores Open on Canada Day?
Schools and most businesses are closed on Canada Day, but some stores have limited opening hours. Supermarkets tend to close by early afternoon. Public transit runs on a holiday schedule, and major tourist destinations will be open. Province-run liquor stores will also be closed.
Some big-box stores will be open, but with limited hours. Department stores will mostly be closed. You'll actually have to spend time outside.
Are There Fireworks on Canada Day?
Unlike the USA's Independence Day, Canada Day does not have one particular method of celebration. For the most part, Canadians are happy to have a long weekend, which, weather permitting, they will spend barbecuing and spending extra time with family. So, no organized fireworks across Canada, though some cities have fireworks displays, festivals or parades.
Ottawa's Canada Day festivities will draw extra crowds, since Prince William and Kate Middleton are in town.
In case you were wondering, consumer fireworks are legal in Canada, but there are restrictions in some areas (such as near airports, obviously).
Also, no summer blockbusters named after Canada Day, at least not yet.