Recently I was talking to some folks (shoutout to my fellow Canadian RSPMs!) about the natal chart of Canada. As with all nations, there’s debate over the exact time and location to use for Canada’s chart so there are a few different versions.
Canada officially became a nation on July 1, 1867 when the British colonies in North America united under the British North American Act to become the Dominion of Canada. The capital city of Canada is Ottawa, so that’s two out of three points needed for a natal chart. As for the exact time to use, one of the main hits when you do a Google search on this is a site called Astrology Weekly, which suggests it should be either midnight or noon (link here).
The site says that midnight is when legislation becomes effective in Canada, so that’s the rationale for that choice. According to that site, noon is when the public ceremony was held and it lists the source as astrologer Rab Wilkie quoted on Robert Couteau’s website. To be honest, I find this source kind of dubious – I checked it out and it looks really outdated and there’s no accompanying explanation for the time. Liz Greene uses the midnight chart for her write-up on Astrodienst, which you can read here.
There is a digitized version of a story published in Macleans Magazine in December 1962 which gives a detailed accounting of the events on July 1, 1867. That story says the public ceremony actually happened at 11am, which is when the Governor General (Lord Monck) arrived to take up residence at parliament and the mayor of Ottawa read the Queen’s proclamation. This is supported by another source, The Historical Society of Ottawa, which also has a detailed write-up on their site (link here). That site states that at 11am sharp on July 1, 1867 the mayor of Ottawa read the Queen’s proclamation to the assembled crowd.
So, I think the choice comes down to either midnight or 11am, but not noon.
Looking at the chart for each, the midnight chart has Aries rising while the 11am chart has Virgo rising. At first glance, I was inclined to choose the 11am chart as Canada just doesn’t seem very Aries to me. I also favoured 11am initially because that’s when the public ceremony was held and the Queen’s proclamation was read, so that felt more like an actual birth time to me.
Here’s the 11am chart:
Virgo rising with Mars in the first house, opposed by Jupiter in Pisces in the seventh house. The themes of Virgo seem to be fairly Canadian (detail-oriented and practical but also self-reflective and mutable). Mars’ presence here doesn’t make a lot of sense to me as we aren’t particularly martial – yes, Canada has gone to war a few times and had some military dealings, but compared to our American neighbour, our military presence is a tiny blip on the world stage. The Sun-Moon-Uranus conjunction is in the eleventh house, which I guess could signify our generally friendly but cautious and occasionally disruptive dealings with other nations. But there’s nothing in this chart that really screams “Je suis Canadien!” at me.
After digging into this further, it really does seem like midnight is the correct time. Both the Macleans story and the Ottawa Historical Society describe how everyone stayed up late on June 30, 1867 so that they could ring in the birth of the nation right at midnight. According to the Historical Society:
“In Ottawa, the partying started the night before the big day as people made their way to Major’s Hill to welcome in the new Dominion at midnight. At the stroke of twelve of the Notre Dame Cathedral clock, a huge pyramidal bonfire made of firewood and tar barrels, surrounded by a ring of boulders to protect spectators, was set ablaze. Thousands of Ottawa citizens, including the Mayor and members of the city council, gave “three hearty cheers,” for the Queen, and three more for the new Dominion of Canada. Churches throughout the city rang their bells, while the Ottawa Field Battery at the drill shed in Lower Town gave a 101-gun salute to the new country. Rockets and Roman candles lit the sky. Paul Favreau and his band played music to the crowd until dawn.”
I had assumed that everyone just slept through the official passing of the legislation and then woke up later in the day on July 1 and went to celebrate/hear the proclamation, and then partied for the rest of the day. This is how we celebrate Canada Day now – the events start during the day on July 1 and the fireworks happen at night around 10-11pm. However it makes sense that the party happened right at midnight on the 1st back in 1867, since this was the birth of a brand new country. Kind of a big deal!
From a legal perspective, legislation in Canada comes into effect at midnight on the date stated in the legislation. The wording in the original British North America Act (link here) says:
“The subsequent provisions of this Act shall, unless it is otherwise expressed or implied, commence and have effect on and after the Union, that is to say, on and after the day appointed for the Union taking effect in the Queen’s Proclamation; and in the same provisions, unless it is otherwise expressed or implied, the name Canada shall be taken to mean Canada as constituted under this Act.”
The House of Commons website (link here) describes the process by which bills becomes laws in Canada and it says the same thing:
“Once a bill has been granted royal assent, it becomes law and comes into force either on that date or at a date provided for within the act or specified by an order of the Governor in Council.”
The British North America Act (BNA) specified July 1 as the date it came into force, so that means midnight on July 1 was the official time for Canada’s inception. And everyone stayed up to party right at the stroke of midnight, so both legislation and public ritual are aligned. Thus, I think we can confidently say that Canada’s natal chart is midnight in Ottawa on July 1, 1867.
Here is the midnight chart:
As I mentioned earlier, this is an Aries rising chart which seemed really weird to me at first, but Neptune is making a tight applying conjunction to the Ascendant degree so that has a major mitigating effect on the typical expression of Aries. Neptune rules socialism and left-wing politics – hallmarks of Canada – as well as secret plots, fraud and swindling, which matches the deep cronyism and corruption that runs through the ranks of our government and ruling elites. The motto for the Dominion of Canada is also “From Sea to Sea” and Canada has the longest coastline (by a significant margin) of any country in the world, both of which are very aligned with Neptune.
There’s also a partile (exact degree) Sun-Uranus conjunction in the fourth house. In mundane astrology, the fourth house is land, crops, mines and buildings – the physical “stuff” of the nation. It’s also the people as contrasted with the monarch; the democracy as contrasted with the aristocracy. The Sun represents the leader/Prime Minister as well as the monarchy and ruling class. Uranus is disruption in general, particularly political tension and right-wing ideas, capitalism, individualism and separation. So the Sun-Uranus conjunction very neatly displays how this moment marked the separation of Canada to become a democratic, politically left-leaning nation (Neptune conjunct Ascendant) from the monarchy of the British Empire (Sun in the fourth house), but was also ruled by a set of right-leaning elites who favoured capitalism and a free market economy based on natural resources and agriculture (Uranus in the fourth house).
There’s much more to this chart and I will do a full chart delineation in another post. The purpose of this post is to explore options for Canada’s natal chart and dig into the rationale and evidence supporting or refuting each. So, even though I’m pretty confident in using the midnight chart as Canada’s official natal chart, I want to look at a couple other options.
One alternative for Canada’s natal chart is March 29, 1867, which is when Queen Victoria granted royal assent to the British North America Act. This is the Act that established the new nation of Canada effective July 1, 1867. You could argue that this was actually the time that Canada was established – except as we just discussed, a bill becomes law either on the date it receives royal assent OR at a date provided for within the act. The BNA specifically states July 1, 1867 as the effective date, so that overrules the March 29 date when the royal assent was given. It’s kind of like the date of conception vs. the date of birth – you don’t celebrate when you were conceived, you celebrate when you come out into the world.
But hey, let’s look at the chart just for fun. I can’t find the exact time that the Queen gave royal assent, however, so I’m going to use 11am. It seems like 11am (rather than noon) is often the time that Britain does official government stuff. (I guess they like to get things done before lunch.) We saw already that the Queen’s proclamation was read at 11am sharp on July 1. If you read further, you’ll see it was just after 11am when the Queen signed the Constitution Act. The Armistice of November 11, 1918 – ending World War I – was signed at 11:11am. So, with an 11am time, here’s the chart for the royal assent of the British North America Act:
This chart has Cancer rising with Mars conjunct the Ascendant and Uranus in the first house. The Moon is also opposing Mars from the seventh house. That’s interesting to compare against the July 1 midnight chart, which has that Sun-Uranus conjunction in Cancer.
Another chart candidate is the passing of the Statute of Westminster. Even though Canada officially became a nation back in 1867, it didn’t have legislative autonomy from Britain until the passing of the Statute of Westminster. This occurred on December 11, 1931. The exact time is unknown, so again I’ll use 11am:
The chart is Aquarius rising with a stellium in Capricorn in the 12H – that seems very in keeping with the fact that this Statute was a major change in the legislation and governance of several British colonies (Canada, Australia, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand and Newfoundland; the latter didn’t join Canada until 1949).
Taking this train of thought even further, you could argue that Canada didn’t truly become a sovereign nation until 1982. The Constitution Act was signed by Queen Elizabeth II on April 17, 1982 (in Ottawa) and meant that Canada had achieved full independence by allowing the country to change its Constitution without prior approval from Britain. It also enshrined the Charter of Rights and Freedom’s in Canada’s Constitution. According to this source, the exact time that the Queen signed the document was 11:37am EST. (I love it when times are super precise!)
Here are some fun facts about the Constitution Act:
- It started raining right as the Queen signed it, and there are smudges of ink from raindrops on the original document.
- The Prime Minister at the time was Pierre Trudeau – father of our current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau – so his signature is on the Act alongside the Queen’s.
- Jean Chretien’s signature is also on the Act because he was Attorney General (Minister of Justice) at the time; he became Prime Minister in 1993.
The Constitution Act is obviously a super important moment in Canada’s history and I’m definitely going to do another post digging into this chart. However, for now I’m just going to share the chart:
It’s a Leo rising chart with the Sun in Aries near the midheaven, opposed by Pluto in Libra in the third house, so there’s some interesting synastry with the midnight July 1 natal chart with its Aries rising.
With all this being said, I still think the July 1 midnight chart is Canada’s most accurate natal chart. All of these other charts mark important moments in the nation’s history, but if you’re looking for the country’s natal chart to use for mundane astrology, the midnight chart is the one to use.
I’ll do a full delineation of Canada’s natal chart in another post as this one is already long enough. I also want to explore the 2021 transits as they relate to Canada specifically. I also need to dig into each of the province’s charts, because I think those are key to how transits affect particular provinces specifically. As all Canadians know, we are a huge country geographically and province’s have different legislation around key things like education and healthcare, so things hit very different depending on where you’re living.
Big thanks again to the Canadian RSPMs for doing some research and helping flesh all this out!