If you are not especially familiar with this holiday, it’s not entirely your fault. Canadians themselves were very slow to embrace it. The following is a succinct history provided by Mental Floss:
“Happy Canada Day! On July 1, 1867, the nation was officially born when the Constitution Act joined three provinces into one country: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Canada province, which then split into Ontario and Quebec. However, Canada was not completely independent of England until 1982. The holiday called Dominion Day was officially established in 1879, but it wasn’t observed by many Canadians, who considered themselves to be British citizens. Dominion Day started to catch on when the 50th anniversary of the confederation rolled around in 1917. In 1946, a bill was put forth to rename Dominion Day, but arguments in the House of Commons over what to call the holiday stalled the bill.
“The 100th anniversary in 1967 saw the growth of the spirit of Canadian patriotism and Dominion Day celebrations really began to take off. Although quite a few Canadians already called the holiday Canada Day (Fête du Canada), the new name wasn’t formally adopted until October of 1982.”
The complete item, which includes some great images, is available at: http://mentalfloss.com/article/31069/what-exactly-canada-day?utm.
To mark the holiday, Mental Floss has also distributed an interesting item on poutine, the Canadian version of a delicious heart-attack-on-a-plate: http://mentalfloss.com/article/57508/brief-history-poutine?utm.
Lastly, Mental Floss has provided a descriptive list of 19 items invented by Canadians. Their list appears to be very randomly organized; so I have tried to group similar items:
Foods: the Egg Carton, the McIntosh Apple, Peanut Butter
Clothing: the Wonderbra
Transportation: the Baggage Tag, the Odometer, the Rotary Snowplow, Standard Time, the Wheelchair-Accessible Bus, the Electric Wheelchair
Communications: the Foghorn, the Walkie Talkie
Entertainment: IMAX, Instant Replay, Trivial Pursuit
Miscellaneous: Garbage Bags, Green Currency Ink, the Paint Roller
The complete article is available at: http://mentalfloss.com/article/51467/19-things-you-might-not-know-were-invented-canada?utm.