150 years ago today three British colonies up north joined together to make one Dominion of Canada – one British colony with four separate provinces (the colony of Canada was cleft in two). Most citizens were reportedly able to contain their enthusiasm.
From The New-York Times July 2, 1867:
THE DOMINION OF CANADA.
Inauguration of the Confederation – A General Holiday – Lord Monck Sworn in – Review of Troops.
Ottawa, C.W., Monday, July 1.
This day has given birth to the political infant, the Dominion of Canada.
At 12:5 o’clock last night its advent was hailed by a salute of 101 guns and a bonfire, also by the ringing of bells. The day dawned clearly and brightly on its nativity, and the capital was dressed with bunting to testify the public pleasure. The flags hung out were of course the British, with a few, a very few, French flags. It was evident that the celebration of the birth of the new State was to fall upon the shoulders of the authorities, the people generally taking a passive interest in it.
There is a feeling of anxiety as to how the union will work, rather than of confidence in it.
About the hour of 11 o’clock the streets became crowded, and the Russel House was the centre of news.
The groups of people wended their way toward the Parliament buildings to witness the arrival of His Excellency the Governor-General. A few minutes before 11 o’clock a guard of honor of 100 men of the Rifle Brigade, with the band, drew up, lining the approach to the entrance of the eastern block of the Parliament building.
At 11 o’clock precisely Lord MONCK, the Viceroy, drew up amid salutes of artillery. The guard presented arms and the band played “God Save the Queen.”
The people looked on in silence at the pageant.
His Excellency entered the building and was then shut out from the public, where I am enabled to say that he took the oath of office as Governor-General of the Dominion of Canada …
His Excellency then proceeded to name the members of the Privy Council. …
After the affair was over Lord MONCK returned to Rideau Hall, the gubernatorial residence, and there was a petty review in front of the Parliament Building, the chief features of which were the firing of a feu de joie and the giving of three cheers.
I will wind up by saying that the celebration of the Union has not here at least been impressive, although it will be said by the Canadian Press, Ministerial side, to have gone off with éclat.
This day, July 1, will be henceforth known as Union Day. …
The Celebration at Toronto.
TORONTO, Monday July 1.
To-day was observed as a general holiday; all business was suspended, and the city was gaily decorated with flags. The prominent feature in the day’s celebration was the review of the troops, regulars and volunteers, which was witnessed by an immense concourse of citizens. To-night a monster concert was held at the Horticultural Gardens, at which the military bands were present. The principal buildings were illuminated, and a grand display of fireworks took place.
The Day at Halifax.
HALIFAX, N.S., Monday July 1.
The inauguration of the Confederation of the Canadian, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia Provinces was observed here to-day by a civic and military procession, a grand dinner and a public meeting. The celebration was a complete success.
HALIFAX, N.S., Monday July 1.
The holiday for the new Dominion is a poor affair.
The Chronicle and Recorder are out this morning in black.
Half the shops only are open.
The Scotch, English and Irish societies have refused to go in the procession.
Several flags are at half-mast.
The Anti-Unionists treat the whole affair with contempt.
Great excitement prevails.
According to a CBC report (at YouTube) 150 years later some Canadians seem to be similarly ambivalent about The Union. The current report is from Montreal.