Celebrating Canada Day on a Budget
July 1 is Canada Day, a day that marks the joining of three colonies into a single country in 1867. Whether you have a fascination with our neighbors to the north or you’re a homesick Canadian, this day offers a great excuse to throw a party, eh? We’ll show you ways to have fun and save a few loonies (Canadian dollars).
What is Canada Day?
For those who aren’t familiar with Canada’s Birthday, it commemorates the British North America Act, when three British colonies – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Province of Canada – were united into a single country. Once called Dominion Day (Le Jour de la Confederation to the folks in Quebec), it was renamed Canada Day in 1982. That’s the year the Constitution Act patriated the country’s constitution.
How Canada Day is Celebrated
Just like U.S. Independence Day, the Canadian birthday is marked with parades, street concerts, festivals, fireworks and barbecues. While some bigger cities around the world host big Canada Day festivities, you can do it yourself at home. In fact, you can add a little more red and white to your red, white and blue and celebrate both holidays at once.
Here are some festive, easy and inexpensive ways to celebrate Canada Day. Don’t be a “hoser” – join in the fun!
American flavors are ingrained from Prince Edward Island to Vancouver. In fact, macaroni and cheese is known up north as “Kraft dinner.” But Canadians are quick to point out that they are a distinct culture, and they‘re proud of their culinary roots. Expatriats get misty-eyed at the thought of treats like:
- Sugar pie – Think of pecan pie without the pecans.
- Poutine – This is an easy one to replicate: French fries topped with beef gravy and cheese curds.
- Beaver tails – A cross between elephant ears and a sugar doughnut, shaped like a beaver tail.
- Tim Bits – These are doughnut holes made at Tim Hortons, the Ontario-based restaurant chain that’s considered the best in the Provinces. While it does sell its coffee online, it’s easier to pop over to your local supermarket or doughnut shop and arrange them on a maple leaf serving tray.
Keep it casual! Canadians perfected the plaid flannel shirt long before the Seattle grunge scene. You can also amp up your support with a t-shirt from online suppliers like Zazzle. At about $5 each, and with a coupon, you can afford to order one for everyone who gathers on your chesterfield (couch).
Be sure to wear a touque, which in most of the world is a tall chef’s hat, but to our neighbors up north it’s just another name for a knit cap. You can pick up a couple almost anywhere, but this time of year you can get overstocks and special deals.
What to do for Canada Day
Hockey is Canada’s national sport, and while you might be hard-pressed to go at it in an indoor rink, you can always get together a rousing game of street hockey. For cheap fun, you can’t go wrong with a couple of NHL Street Hockey Starter Sets.
Or opt for something simple and indoor like a tailgate-toss boasting the Montreal Canadians logo.
Crank up the Tunes!
Because it’s so cold in the winter, Canadian kids end up doing one of two things for fun: playing hockey, or forming a band. The country is known for turning out world-famous musical acts in all genres. Download some tunes from Diana Krall, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Gordon Lightfoot, Bryan Adams, and, if you are so inclined, Justin Bieber. Check out some of Novia Scotia’s Cape Breton fiddle music or the alt country sounds of Cross Canadian Ragweed on CD.
Do a Canadian Movie Marathon!
The beloved classic novel, Anne of Green Gables, is set in the stark coastal beauty of Prince Edward Island. Buy the movie trilogy online, and get it at a great price with a coupon code. Also check out award-winning favorites like Juno (2007), The Red Violin (1998), and The Sweet Hereafter (1997).
Shop dollar stores for red and white crepe paper or look online for specialty flags. Then kick it up a notch: there’s no better way to celebrate the Great White North than with a little snow. Buy a tub of the artificial kind and throw it around for some atmosphere.
Now that you’re in the spirit of the day, learn more about Canada if you’re not familiar with its vast beauty. Find great, discount books about Canada online at major retailers.
Above all: July 1 is a day to be extra nice, as Canadians are known for their unfailing politeness. Now “take off” and have a party!