Every year on July 1, Canadians across the globe celebrate Canada Day. Canada Day celebrates the anniversary of July 1, 1867, when the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, until then separate colonies, officially became a single dominion within the British Empire. This dominion was called ÒCanada.Ó
The British North America Act, 1867 (now referred to as the Constitution Act, 1867) officially created the dominion of Canada, but the history of the Great White North extends much further back than the 1860s. In fact, when visiting Canada, travelers can immerse themselves in history by visiting various historical sites that can provide wonderful insight into this vast, beautiful country.
¥ LÕAnse aux Meadows: Located the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula of the island of Newfoundland, LÕAnse aux Meadows features the remains of an 11th century Viking settlement. Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978, this archaeological site is the only confirmed Norse or Viking site in North America outside of the settlements found in Greenland. UNESCO notes that artifacts found at the site indicate evidence of activities such as iron production and woodworking, and remnants found at the site correspond with sages documenting the voyages of Leif Erikson and other Norse explorers.
¥ La Citadelle: This 19th century fort was the biggest built by the British in North America. The oldest military building in Canada, La Citadelle was initially intended to secure Quebec City against the Americans and serve as a refuge for garrisoned British soldiers in the event of an attack or rebellion. British forces left the fort for good in 1871 after the establishment of the Dominion of Canada, and since 1920 the fort has been home to the Royal 22e Regiment of the Canadian Forces.
¥ Kejimkujik National Park: Canada's national parks are renowned among nature lovers across the globe, and many of those parks, including Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia, combine natural beauty with an extensive, impressive history. Canoe routes in Kejimkujik National Park have been used for thousands of years, and petroglyphs throughout the park, the majority of which cannot be viewed by the public, illustrate the lives of natives dating back several centuries.
¥ Sainte-Marie among the Hurons: The first European settlement in what is now the province of Ontario, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons dates back nearly 400 years. French Jesuits established the community in Wendake, which was the ancestral homeland of the Huron Wendat nation. While the Jesuits successfully established the community within 10 years of their arrival, it was not to last. An increasing number of attacks perpetrated by the Iroquois forced the abandonment of the settlement in 1649.
The missionaries and their followers, which included local Wendat natives, even burned the settlement before abandoning it. The ruins of the site were undisturbed for almost three centuries, and visitors to the site can now see reconstructions of the original mission buildings.
The land now known as Canada boasts a rich history that visitors to the Great White North can explore regardless of which province they visit.