Canada Day Festivities Spark Controversy over National HistoryHistorians in the News
tags: Canadian history, Indigenous history, Canada Day
The planning of Canada Day festivities in a few major Canadian cities has sparked controversy — and one professor says it’s not surprising given the country’s complicated history.
Matthew Hayday, a professor and chair in the department of history at the University of Guelph, said the lesson from history around July 1 is that the day is contentious.
“Canada Day has always been controversial,” Hayday told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview.
“And it’s because Canada has a fractious history. It’s a country that is the product of a variety of different compromises and different types of groups that live together. It’s not surprising that the day celebrating the country is also going to be full of debate and controversy and some compromise as well.”
CITIES, PORT AUTHORITY PLAN CANADA DAY EVENTS In recent days, the City of Calgary and City of Toronto said they would not be going ahead with certain Canada Day festivities.
The City of Calgary initially said it would be replacing its fireworks celebration with a pyrotechnic show featuring a display of lights and sounds launched from the main stage at Fort Calgary.
Among other things, the city cited reconciliation efforts, noise complaints, disruption to wildlife and the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Immigration Act, which banned the entry of Chinese immigrants into Canada for 24 years, as reasons for not setting off fireworks on Canada Day.
The City of Toronto, on the other hand, said it was exploring Nathan Phillips Square, which it activated once before for Canada Day in 2017 for Canada 150 celebrations, as a potential venue to “enhance” its planned Canada Day programming, but decided not to proceed with hosting festivities at the square outside of city hall due to “resource constraints.”
Days later, after receiving backlash and an online petition that called on Calgary to bring back its fireworks celebration and called the cancellation of fireworks “virtue signalling,” both cities reversed course.
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