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July 1, 1867 was a sunny day right across the country. At midnight of June 30th, the order was given to let the bells loose and the church towers across Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick rang out. In all of the major centres the Queen's proclamation was read out followed by parades and celebrations. An 101 gun salute also shook the area around Ottawa in honour of the occasion.

July 1st, 1867 - Canada

Ottawa was the site which witnessed the birth of a new country as the ceremonies were initiated in the new capital of Canada, an old logging operation along the Ottawa River which took the name of the River as it's own. The location was a compromise choice which signalled a new beginning for the four provinces which now formed Canada. The location which was in the Northwest part of the four provinces may have indicated the immense expansion which was to take place over the next 10 years to the Pacific Coast.


The New Parliament Buildings

Lord Monck became the first Governor General of Canada and as his first official duty he swore in John A Macdonald as the first Prime Minister, William McDougall, E.P. Howland, Tilley, Cartier and Galt as Finance Minister. Macdonald was made a Knight Commander of Bath by order of Queen Victoria and the other were made Companions of the Bath. By noon the official part of Canada on the day of its birth. The celebrations went on well into the evening with lights, lamps, bonfires and fireworks lighting the parties and the sky. The great deal had been done and the colonies had been brought together as one state with responsible government in the form of the Canadian Parliament.

George Cartier John A Macdonald

The new country consisted of approximately 3,300,00 million citizens. mainly in Ontario,  with about 42% being of the Catholic faith. (Mainly of French and Irish descent) Most of the others were of English Protestant descent. About 81% of the people lived on farms or in the countryside with industry being only a minor part of the overall economy.  Montreal was the largest city with about 100,000 people and then came Toronto and Quebec City with about 60,000 each and Ottawa at about 17,000.

Ottawa 1867

John A. Macdonald became the first Prime Minister of Canada due to his tireless efforts in uniting the former British Colonies and his unerring ability to glean a compromised solution from the process of creating Canada as he pushed the union along. He was also Knighted by Queen Victoria and took his seat in Parliament as the leader of the party with the majority of members. This was the beginning of Canada and the jumping off point in what was to become known as the Macdonald era in Canadian politics.

A time to Celebrate

Actual elections were held on September 18th, 1867 and on November 7th, 1867 Parliament convened with John A Macdonald as the victorious Prime Minister.


Governor General Monck