Dominion Day
Dominion Day is a commemoration day of the granting of national status in various Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...



Dominion Day was the name of the holiday commemorating the formation of Canada as a Dominion on 1 July 1867. The holiday was renamed to Canada Day
Canada Day
Canada Day , formerly Dominion Day , is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act , which united three British colonies into a single country, called Canada, within the British Empire...

by Act of Parliament on 27 October 1982.
On June 20, 1868, Governor General
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

 the Viscount Monck
Charles Stanley Monck, 4th Viscount Monck
Charles Stanley Monck, 4th Viscount Monck, GCMG, PC was the last Governor General of the Province of Canada and the first Governor General of Canada after Canadian Confederation. Prior to Confederation he was concurrently Lieutenant Governor of both Canada West and Canada East...

 issued a royal proclamation
A proclamation is an official declaration.-England and Wales:In English law, a proclamation is a formal announcement , made under the great seal, of some matter which the King in Council or Queen in Council desires to make known to his or her subjects: e.g., the declaration of war, or state of...

 asking for Canadians to celebrate the anniversary of the confederation. However, the holiday was not established statutorily until 1879, when it was designated as Dominion Day, in reference to the designation of the country as a Dominion
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,...

in the British North America Act. The holiday was initially not dominant in the national calendar; up to the early 20th century, Canadians thought themselves to be primarily British, being thus less interested in celebrating distinctly Canadian forms of patriotism. No official celebrations were therefore held until 1917—the golden anniversary of Confederation—and then none again for a further decade.

Beginning in 1958, the Canadian government began to orchestrate Dominion Day celebrations, usually consisting of Trooping the Colour
Trooping the Colour
Trooping the Colour is a ceremony performed by regiments of the British and the Commonwealth armies. It has been a tradition of British infantry regiments since the 17th century, although the roots go back much earlier. On battlefields, a regiment's colours, or flags, were used as rallying points...

 ceremonies on Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill , colloquially known as The Hill, is an area of Crown land on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Ontario. Its Gothic revival suite of buildingsthe parliament buildings serves as the home of the Parliament of Canada and contains a number of architectural...

 in the afternoon and evening, followed by a mass band concert and fireworks display. Canada's centennial
Canadian Centennial
The Canadian Centennial was a year long celebration held in 1967 when Canada celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Celebrations occurred throughout the year but culminated on Dominion Day, July 1. 1967 coins were different from previous years' issues, with animals on each...

 in 1967 is often seen as an important milestone in the history of Canadian patriotism, and in Canada's maturing as a distinct, independent country, after which Dominion Day became more popular with average Canadians. Into the late 1960s, nationally televised, multi-cultural concerts held in Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

 were added, and the fête became known as Festival Canada. From the 1960s into the 1980s, Dominion Day was the date the Miss Dominion of Canada
Miss Dominion of Canada
Miss Dominion of Canada was a beauty pageant held in Niagara Falls for many years, primarily at the Sheraton Brock Hotel, on July 1, Canada's Dominion Day , beginning in 1959...

 beauty pageant, held at Niagara Falls, Ontario
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Niagara Falls is a Canadian city on the Niagara River in the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario. The municipality was incorporated on June 12, 1903...

. After 1980 the Canadian government began to promote the celebrating of Dominion Day beyond the national capital, giving grants and aid to cities across the country to help fund local activities.

The term "Dominion" was originally coined by Sir Leonard Tilley who came up it "as a way to encapsulate the aspirations of the Confederation generation." It was derived from the eighth verse of the 72nd Psalm
Psalm 72
-Judaism:*Verses 18-19 are the third and fourth verses of Baruch Hashem L'Olam in Pesukei Dezimra and Baruch Hashem L'Olam during Maariv....

, and was intended to denote the breadth of the country from "sea to sea," not "domination" as was sometimes later claimed. All of the Fathers of Confederation
Fathers of Confederation
The Fathers of Confederation are the people who attended the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences in 1864 and the London Conference of 1866 in England, preceding Canadian Confederation. The following lists the participants in the Charlottetown, Quebec, and London Conferences and their attendance at...

 agreed to use the term as an alternative to "Kingdom" which was seen as provocative to the United States. By the 1970s the term "dominion" was rarely used by the national government, and the Trudeau government was in favour of renaming Dominion Day, although it did not give official backing to the proposal. The holiday was actually renamed in 1982, following the patriation
Patriation is a non-legal term used in Canada to describe a process of constitutional change also known as "homecoming" of the constitution. Up until 1982, Canada was governed by a constitution that was a British law and could be changed only by an Act of the British Parliament...

 of the Canadian Constitution, as a result of a private member's bill in the House of Commons.

New Zealand

Dominion Day is the name given to 26 September, the anniversary of the day in 1907 when New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 was granted dominion
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,...

 status within the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. No longer a statutory (bank) holiday, the only current official observance of the day is as a Provincial Anniversary Day in South Canterbury
Canterbury, New Zealand
The New Zealand region of Canterbury is mainly composed of the Canterbury Plains and the surrounding mountains. Its main city, Christchurch, hosts the main office of the Christchurch City Council, the Canterbury Regional Council - called Environment Canterbury - and the University of Canterbury.-...

, and is celebrated on the fourth Monday of September. There is support in some quarters for the day to be revived as an alternative New Zealand Day, instead of renaming Waitangi Day
Waitangi Day
Waitangi Day commemorates a significant day in the history of New Zealand. It is a public holiday held each year on 6 February to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document, on that date in 1840.-History:...

, New Zealand's current national day.
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