July 1st, 2019 is the 152nd anniversary of the Confederation of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia into the Dominion of Canada. Canada's shaking off of British rule was not as violent as the act of revolution that created the United States of America, but it was much more dramatic than most people now think.
Conceived in the aftermath of the rebellions of 1837, the first union within British North America was the 1841 creation of the Province of Canada from Upper Canada (now known as Ontario ) and Lower Canada (now known as Quebec) (It was called Lower Canada due its position at the lower end of the northeastward flowing Saint Lawrence River).
By 1864 the culmination of several factors led to the first formal conference on the union of Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Those factors included Britain's diminishing appetite for defending British North America; the cancelation of the first North American free trade agreement (The Reciprocity Treaty) by the US in retaliation for British support for the Confederate States of America; mounting debts and political instability in the Province of Canada.
By 1867 the momentum for Confederation was almost unstoppable. Every province housed opponents but they were unsuccessful except in Prince Edward Island. It took an act of the British Parliament to create Canada, and more than 100 years for Canada to become truly independent of Britain, but on July 1st 1867 the improbable union of Francophones, Anglophones, Tories (Conservatives), Whigs (Liberals), Federalists and Confederates was celebrated from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. In what became a running theme of Confederation, the act of union was also an act of separation as the Province of Canada was split into Ontario and Quebec.
The second act of Canadian Separatism occurred when the Nova Scotian Opponents to Confederation won 36 of 38 seats in the first Provincial election of Sept 1867. Britain would not allow Nova Scotia to secede and another Canadian tradition was established when the Nova Scotia Premier agreed to drop his attempts at repeal in exchange for more money from the new Federal Government.
152 years later, Canada has survived two world wars, multiple economic setbacks and separatist sentiments from all corners. It is a peaceful, prosperous nation and its citizens are amongst the luckiest in the world just by virtue of living there.
Happy Canada Day!