Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island is known as the birthplace of Canada. From September 1 to September 9, 1864 meetings were held to discuss the possibility of Confederation. Originally the only ones who were to participate were Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. These three were hoping to have more political and economic independence from England as well as military power considering the American Civil War.
Newfoundland and the Province of Canada which consisted on Ontario and Quebec at the time also wanted to participate in the talks that the Maritime provinces planned and therefore joined in.
A big problem occurred when a circus was in Charlottetown during the same days as the conference. This attracted a lot of attention, filled accommodations and limited Warf personnel. As a result, many delegates had to remain on the ship that brought them or be transported to shore in a row boat.
The talks that began with a handful of delegates led to Confederation three years later in 1867.
I believe it will be fun to attend some of the historic tours and plays that will tell the story of our nation. PEI has apparently developed their tourist attractions with this in mind.
Throughout my school days we sang "O Canada" and "God Save the Queen" every morning followed by recitation of the Lord's Prayer. We were taught to stand as straight as soldiers without any fidgeting with arms straight by our sides and eyes facing the front. We sang out with gusty pride and thankfulness. The same thing occurred at community meetings, ceremonial services and sporting events.
Today I am sad when the national anthem is noticeably absent from our gatherings. Sometimes I find that I am one of the few who is actually singing out the words. I see athletes who are chewing gum, gawking around and crowds that begin moving and cheering before we get through the last line! That is sad!
This year Canada Day is on a Sunday so unless you are a shift worker, you will have lots of time to honour our country.
What are you planning to do? Will you stand up in front of your family and proudly belt out the whole song as you "stand on guard for thee"? Will you hang a Canadian flag on your property? Will you read a book about Confederation or do an internet search to learn about people who built our country?
Canada Day is much more than a holiday from work. It is an opportunity to recognize that we live in one of the best countries in the world where every day is filled with peace and freedom and blessings.
As a country we are still young, but we can be proud of the way that we have grown and matured.
Happy birthday, Canada. This year you are 151 years old and I will be in your place of birth!