Dominion Day and the “New” Canadian Flag

Barkerville Canada Flag

Canada’s very first Dominion Day celebration was held in Barkerville as a fervent display of support for Canadian confederation three years before British Columbia joined in 1871.

Just past midnight on July 1, 1868, the Dominion of Canada’s first anniversary, Barkerville citizens launched their own version of a 21 gun salute. Cannons were in short supply, so black powder
charges were detonated between stacked anvils, providing a loud and raucous start to Canada’s inaugural birthday party. A full slate of activities followed throughout the day and long into the evening, capped off with a fireworks display.

It was quickly noted by resident Americans, whose upcoming July 4th party had just been eclipsed, that the fledgling country didn’t even have a flag. The very next year Cariboo’s “new” Canadian Flag, with its iconic beaver and wreath, was raised in the dead of night to the top of a newly constructed flagpole almost 2o feet higher than that of the Americans. The next day began with the now traditional anvil chorus and the ensuing celebrations were legendary.

Extensive historical research suggests that Barkerville began to celebrate Dominion Day (Canada Day) eleven years before it was officially recognized.

For more information about Barkerville Historic Town & Park’s annual Dominion Day celebration, phone at 1-888-994-3332 or visit