by Doreen Kristjanson
Here is an account of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Canada's Confederation in 1927. In those days, the holiday was referred to as Dominion Day. It is now known as Canada Day. This account was excerpted from "There Never Was a Better Time: Toronto’s Yesterdays," by Doug Taylor. A link to the article is at the end of this post.
There were many celebrations to be held across Canada for this Diamond Jubilee. In Ottawa, the Peace Tower Carillion would be inaugurated and the cornerstone of the Confederation Building would be laid by the Governor-General, Viscount Willingdon. In honour of the Jubilee, the Canadian National Railroad announced that a trans-Canada Confederation train adorned with flags and banners would depart from Ottawa on June 24th and arrive in Vancouver on the 28th. Additionally, there was to be a radio hook-up spanning coast to coast on Dominion Day that would begin with the ringing of bells from the Peace Tower in Ottawa, followed by a royal artillery salute.
In Toronto, leading the build-up to Dominion Day celebrations, the Canadian Pacific Railway Company announced it would build a new hotel on Front Street called “The Royal York.” It would be the largest and grandest in the entire British Empire, twenty-eight stories high, containing 1,000 rooms, and able to accommodate 7,000 guests.
July 1st (Dominion Day) was a scorcher of a day in Toronto, but that didn’t stop the people from attending the many Jubilee activities. Here are some of the events held in Toronto. In the morning, there was a band concert at Queens Park and a royal salute by massive artillery guns at midday. In the afternoon, there was a Confederation Parade. Thirty-six floats comprised the parade, each depicting a scene from Canada’s history. The first was a sixty-foot Viking ship with a colourful single-sail. It contained characters attired as Leif Ericson and his crew, portraying their voyage from Iceland to the shores of Eastern Canada. Jacques Cartier, James Wolfe, Sir Isaac Brock and other military heroes appeared on various floats. The final scene of the parade represented the twenty-six nations that comprised the diverse ethnic groups of Toronto.
The women in the photo representing the Icelandic group are wearing the Icelandic national costume. The province is unknown where the women in this photo took part in the 1927 60th Jubilee Dominion Day parade.
That evening, the “Western Stampede and Rodeo Show” opened with a parade of all the rodeo participants, including over four hundred horses. Later, three old wooden sailing ships were towed beyond the breakwater of Toronto’s harbour and set ablaze as entertainment. This spectacle concluded with a fireworks show, ending the Dominion Day celebrations.
Happy Canada Day!
Bibliography: tayloronhistory.com, Historic Toronto “Celebrating Canada Day in 1927, the 60th Anniversary of the Confederation. The article link is here. Taken from a passage in the book "There Never Was a Better Time: Toronto’s Yesterdays," by Doug Taylor, publication date: 30 Jul 2008 (available on amazon.com).