Bible Study Tools / Canada

Dominion of Canada

by Anthony Wasilkoff
Jorge Compassio CreativeCommons.org

In Canada, July 1 is celebrated as Canada Day. As many will remember, there was a time when July 1 was not known as Canada Day. It was first known as Dominion Day. The significance of this term should be reviewed and not forgotten.

It was the habit of Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley to begin each morning with prayer and Scripture reading. When the Fathers of Confederation gathered in Charlottetown to draft the terms of the British North America Act, there were many proposals for what to call this new nation. That fateful morning, while reading Psalm 72:8, Tilley became convicted that Canada should be a nation under God. When he appeared at the Conference session, he felt inspired to propose the term “Dominion of Canada.” His fellow Fathers agreed and accepted this remarkable name.

Today the following words are enshrined near the Confederation Chamber in Province House: “In the hearts of the delegates who assembled in this room on September 1, 1864, was born the Dominion of Canada. Providence being their guide, they builded better than they knew.”   

The term ‘Dominion’ was formalized in 1867. The letter that established the name to Queen Victoria was signed by John A. Macdonald and explained that Dominion was “a tribute to the principles they earnestly desired to uphold.”

This Dominion statement was incorporated in Latin into the Canadian coat of arms as “A Mari Usque Ad Mare” (from sea to sea) directly from Psalm 72:8: “He shall have dominion from sea to sea.”

Also enshrined in the Canadian Coat of Arms is the expression “Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam.” It is the motto of the Order of Canada and was added in 1994. It means, “They desire a better country.”  These words probably seem familiar to you because something very similar appears in Hebrews 11:14-16 which states, “For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland . . . But now they desire a better, that is a heavenly country.”

It should also be noted that the Canadian Charter of Rights emphatically states, “... Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” In an increasingly secular society, it is especially important to be reminded of this important albeit nearly forgotten reality.

The Great God left references in our official documents pointing to the Christian heritage of this country. Many of the founding fathers were very familiar with the Holy Bible and had a very high regard for Christian principles and values.

At the annual Feast of Tabernacles, we will be picturing a time when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess the Great God. We look forward to the time when Christ becomes King of Kings and exercises dominion over Canada from sea to shining sea and over all of the earth!

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