Oh Canada… It’s Your Birthday!

Joyeuse fête de Canada!

On behalf of everyone here at Mountain Lake PBS, we wish all our Canadian friends, donors and viewers a Happy Canada Day.

Canada Day is observed July 1st of each year to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Canada. It also commemorates the anniversary of the Constitution Act, marking the beginning of how present-day Canada came to be. On July 1st, 1867 the Parliament of the United Kingdom consolidated what were then three territories —Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Upper and Lower Canada— as a single, united and independent nation. The national holiday was originally known as “Dominion Day” but was later renamed to “Canada Day” when the Canadian Constitution was patriated – a political process that led to full Canadian sovereignty with the Constitution Act of 1982.

Canada Day is enjoyed across the country with parades, festivities, fireworks, and by spending time with family and friends. It is also an opportunity for citizens to reflect on the complicated history and modern-day impacts of colonization on Indigenous peoples – especially important given the recent findings of several hundred unmarked graves of children found at former Indian Residential Schools across Canada.

Use the digital resources, videos and activities below to learn more about our neighbors to the North, find ways to celebrate this Canada Day with your family, and to help teach our children about the importance of acknowledging and learning from history.

Learn More!

Experience Canada Day | Canadian Heritage Campaign

All Ages
Many Canada Day celebrations are happening digitally this year! Check out this year’s holiday programming from anywhere, including virtual fireworks, a Canada Day Activity Kit to create memorable moments at home, and ways to find fun things to do right in Québec using an interactive map and list of community events!

According To Kids: Canada Day | CBC Kids

Grades PreK-5
How did Canada get its name? How did the first Canada day come about? It involved a phone call with Britain, a team of scientists and putting a birthday cake in the ground… Or at least that’s what these kids have to say!

Grandpa’s Drum | Molly of Denali

Grades K-2
In light of recent news, how do we talk about difficult, complex issues and histories in age-appropriate and respectful ways with younger children? As in Canada, residential boarding schools existed across the U.S. aimed at “assimilating” Indigenous peoples by removing them from their communities, culture and language. By using the 11-minute story “Grandpa’s Drum” from the PBS KIDS series Molly of Denali, children can learn about the painful history of American boarding schools and how many Native Americans, including Alaska Natives, experienced them, expanding their understanding of the importance of diverse cultures and honoring traditions.

A brief behind-the-scenes video, The Making of Grandpa’s Drum, is also available providing additional insights and information about the real-life experiences of Tanana tribal Elder Luke Titus, who inspired the “Grandpa’s Drum” story.

The Geography and Natural Resources in Canada

Grades 6-12
Use this map analysis worksheet to help students learn more about our neighbors to the north, the second largest country in the world! Students will explore a physical map showing natural resources in Canada to analyze the impact of the environment on the distribution of natural resources.

Canada: Land of Two-Hundred Languages

Grades 6-12
Examine several primary sources about Canadian history and languages, take notes in a table, and draft a definition of linguistic diversity using the primary documents in this PBS LearningMedia resource.

One Elder’s Survival Story at Indigenous Residential Boarding School

Grades 6-12
Muriel Betsina, before her death in 2019, told her story of survival and healing after a harrowing childhood spent in a residential boarding school. Using this lesson from PBS NewsHour Extra, students can read the summary, watch the video, and answer discussion questions based on her experience. Educators can expand the lesson with more recent insights on the Canadian government’s response to unmarked graves of Indigenous children found on the grounds of former residential boarding schools from PBS NewsHour.