This is the year that Canada celebrates the big 1-5-0. That’s right–Canada is turning 150 years old. Canada’s birthday is a way to celebrate the number of years that have passed since its confederation. The day is about much more than celebrations, however. At its roots, Canada Day is a reminder of where the country came from and where it stands today.

The idea of a Canadian union actually first appeared sometime in the early 1800s. However, it was the Act of Union in the year 1840 that united the upper region and lower region of Canada, ultimately forming the Province of Canada. It was the Dominion of Canada, per the British North America Act of 1867, that ultimately unified the Canadian colonies, which at that time included the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Over time, the provinces that were not originally included in the Dominion of Canada slowly joined, with the most recent addition being Nunavut.

Fast forward to the year 1892, when Canada patriated the constitution. This is the transfer of control over (a constitution) from a mother country to its former dependency. Essentially, Canadians were allowed to amend their constitution without approval from Britain. This was a landmark event, dutifully named the Constitution Act of 1982, and essentially led to the formation of “Canada Day,” which fell on July 1 and had originally been known as “Dominion Day.”

While there is quite a bit of history behind this holiday, one thing is for sure. Celebrating 150 years is a really big deal. This is a time to not only reflect on what led us here, but also to look forward to what the future may hold for Canada.