The Canada Formerly Known as a Dominion
August 4, 2020 8:17 AM   Subscribe

An exhaustive FAQ on Canada's former formal title, the Dominion of Canada, which has almost, but not quite, entirely ceased being used. There remains only one officer of the federal government whose title still contains the word "dominion" — the Dominion Carillonneur. posted by jedicus (48 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
I can't help but picture a Jem'Hadar in a Mountie uniform...
posted by vitout at 8:44 AM on August 4 [10 favorites]


*Sisters Of Mercy intensifies*
posted by acb at 9:03 AM on August 4 [6 favorites]


I vividly remember walking past the Parliament Buildings one day in the early 1980's, and hearing Killing Me Softly With His Song (slYouTube, Roberta Flack's 1973 version) playing on the bells.

Political commentary, or did they just like the tune?
posted by Mogur at 9:24 AM on August 4 [1 favorite]


You still find remnants of "Dominion" in some company names, like Domtar (paper manufacturer, but originally "Dominion Tar"), TD Bank (still officially "Toronto-Dominion Bank"), and Dofasco (part of ArcelorMittal), the "Dominion Foundries and Steel Company".
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:33 AM on August 4 [6 favorites]


Curiously, not the name of a card in Dominion.
posted by one for the books at 10:05 AM on August 4


"Dominion" status also reflected the fact that what was granted was not full independence but a sort of "country with training wheels" situation. Our foreign and defence policy in particular was run by the UK into the inter-war period (which is why we didn't have embassies until that point). Our "Supreme Court" wasn't actually the top court until 1949; prior to that its decisions could be challenged and overruled via appeals to the UK Privy Council. And our Constitution didn't come under purely Canadian control until 1982 (sic) - prior to that amendments had to be approved by the British Parliament.

Other fun facts:
• In his failed bid in 2017 for the leadership of the Conservative Party, one of our more spectacularly fallen political stars of the current century, Chris Alexander, proposed that Canada finally assume its destiny and restyle itself as "the Kingdom of Canada". He placed tenth in a field of fourteen candidates, just ahead of Kevin O'Leary, perhaps better known to Americans as one of the members of Shark Tank. (O'Leary actually abandoned his campaign weeks before the vote).

• As the main article notes, "Dominion" was the term given to the other majority-white UK colonies that were granted independence in the 19th and 20th centuries. Of these, Newfoundland was the only one to fail in this status, and reverted to direct rule by Britain (albeit through appointees) from 1933 until it joined Confederation and merged into Canada in 1949.
posted by senor biggles at 10:25 AM on August 4 [6 favorites]


There also exists the Dominion Sculptor, who I do not believe is appointed by Parliament, but still uses the title officially.

https://www.sencanada.ca/en/sencaplus/how-why/meet-dominion-sculptor-phil-white/
posted by papineau at 10:30 AM on August 4 [1 favorite]


We certainly celebrated "Dee Day" as kids. I used to go to a Dominion Day regatta in the early 1980s.

I'd always felt that the name really changed in 1981, and that "Canada Day" was minted more or less in celebration of the repatriation of the new constitution in 1982. We didn't get free of old dad Jack until April of 1982, so 1 July 1982 was for many the first real "Canada Day".
posted by bonehead at 10:36 AM on August 4 [2 favorites]


Yeah well don't get all vodka, cigarettes and fireworks with your supposed independence, France is still lurking in the shadows, you know.
posted by rhizome at 10:52 AM on August 4 [1 favorite]


I was told when I was a kid that the term dominion came from a Bible verse, Psalm 72:8. "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth." Perhaps not the origin of the term dominion, but it is the origin of Canada's official motto.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:57 AM on August 4 [1 favorite]


You still find remnants of "Dominion" in some company names, like Domtar (paper manufacturer, but originally "Dominion Tar"), TD Bank (still officially "Toronto-Dominion Bank"), and Dofasco (part of ArcelorMittal), the "Dominion Foundries and Steel Company".

I grew up eating food from Dominion. I did a lot of reading of Funk & Wagnalls' Encyclopedia bought with Dominion receipts, ate off plates from a similar promotion and watched the Toronto Blue Jays from the bleachers at Exhibition Stadium with $1 tickets (regularly $2) from Dominion. All my teenage shopping cart hi-jinks? Dominion shopping carts. So you could say that Dominion of Canada played a huge part in my upbringing.
posted by srboisvert at 11:06 AM on August 4 [11 favorites]


It's been going downhill ever since they changed the name of Acadia.
posted by MrGuilt at 11:11 AM on August 4


Maybe you could change the title "Prime Minister" to "Dominator Prime," who could then wear a sinister cape and skull mask.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:17 AM on August 4 [8 favorites]


Maybe you could change the title "Prime Minister" to "Dominator Prime,"

That would falsely imply individuality. Canada is ruled by a soup of Parliamentarians who join together as the "great link", a goopy yellow puddle on the floor of the House of Commons.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:25 AM on August 4 [13 favorites]


I like her comment around 1:12:

"The most important part of this office is the practice keyboard."

Keep calm...

*puts on sunglasses*

...and carillon.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:27 AM on August 4 [7 favorites]


From the FAQ:
Q. What does "Dominion" mean?
A. It's both a noun and a verb, ...
What?
posted by thedward at 11:28 AM on August 4 [2 favorites]


Canada is ruled by a soup of Parliamentarians who join together as the "great link", a goopy yellow puddle on the floor of the House of Commons.

Peace, Order, and Goop Government, as it were.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:30 AM on August 4 [12 favorites]


If you've never been Dominionated, there are folks who will do so for a reasonable fee.
posted by bonehead at 11:47 AM on August 4 [4 favorites]


And they're so nice about it.
posted by rhizome at 11:48 AM on August 4 [3 favorites]


That is a surprisingly useful FAQ on Canada's Dominion status especially since it comes from professional blowhard JJ McCullough.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:51 AM on August 4 [2 favorites]


If you want more domin in your dominion, there’s always the Dominate, which looks like the kind of thing we would intentionally misspell “dominant” as in ye olde days.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:55 AM on August 4 [1 favorite]


I'm actually surprised that she hasn't been posted in performance yet. Meet the current Dominion Carillonneur, Andrea McCrady.
posted by bonehead at 11:56 AM on August 4


“The Dominion” sounds like the kind of place that would invade its southern neighbor and burn their capitol.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:58 AM on August 4 [5 favorites]


I'm actually surprised that she hasn't been posted in performance yet. Meet the current Dominion Carillonneur, Andrea McCrady.

That link is in the "more inside"!
posted by jedicus at 12:07 PM on August 4


Sorry!
posted by bonehead at 12:12 PM on August 4 [1 favorite]


I worked on the hill for a few years as a summer gig, and as part of the perks I got to meet and chat with Dr. McCrady on a couple of different occasions!

I had the wonderful privilege of attending her noon-hour live carillon concerts twice, and both times she invited me and a couple of my colleagues to the small performance room halfway up the peace tower, where we sat in silence as she opened with the O Canada arrangement and continued on with the themed pieces of the day.

The actual performance room was quite small, only big enough to fit her and maybe 4-5 other guests. Surprisingly, it's also relatively soundproof, meaning that there needs to be a live microphone and speaker setup streamed with little-to-no delay so that she can hear the sounds she's actually playing! The room also happens to be the control room for the actual clock, where the "Official Time of Canada" is set off of Greenwich Mean Time (although Dr. McCrady often lamented that it was a few seconds late off the most precise time). Kind of cool to see that old hardware up close though! We even got to ring the bourdon (the biggest bell) and although I am a trained keyboard player, I wasn't expecting to have to use both hands to press down on the lever since the bell is so heavy!

Thankfully, I was also able to present Dr. McCrady with a congratulations card when she officially became a Canadian citizen in 2017 on a special ceremony for the sesquicentennial of Canada on the actual hill. Her and a couple of lucky new Canadians got their official papers signed right there on the east lawn, and I remember it being a particularly nice day to boot.

Anyways, she's a great lady and it's too bad the carillon will be out of commission until late this decade. I think it's kind of neat that, as someone with a music degree, there's at least one profession like this left of its kind from the early years in the federal public service.
posted by Wandering_Boots at 1:00 PM on August 4 [16 favorites]


I picked up an old wooden bench vise on Kijiji and googling told me the owner's stamped name along with Fonthill, C.W. had a connection to a small local museum. I donated it and the docent told me that the C.W. stood for Canada West, an 1841-to-confederation term for Ontario. I'm pretty sure I'd only ever been taught Upper Canada.
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:14 PM on August 4 [1 favorite]


Maybe you could change the title "Prime Minister" to "Dominator Prime," who could then wear a sinister cape and skull mask.

What, you mean Stephen Harper?
posted by suetanvil at 1:16 PM on August 4 [10 favorites]


They're such beautiful instruments. My university had one so I loved listening to those concerts. I could watch a bunch of Dr. McCrady's interviews though, she's fantastic and would love to hear a live concert in Canada one of these days if we can ever travel again in the US.
posted by Carillon at 1:51 PM on August 4 [1 favorite]


Maybe you could change the title "Prime Minister" to "Dominator Prime," who could then wear a sinister cape and skull mask.

Yeah, there's probably pictures somewhere of Trudeau dressed like this but he knew better and is very sorry. I'm certain that there are pictures of Harper dressed like this, because it's Thursday.

Also,
Metafilter: The name "would wound the sensibilities of the Yankees."
posted by flyingfox at 2:08 PM on August 4 [2 favorites]


I can't help but picture a Jem'Hadar in a Mountie uniform...

"The Dominion has endured for two thousand years, and will continue to endure long after the Federation has crumbled into dust... but we'll leave that to history."
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:12 PM on August 4 [1 favorite]


I grew up eating food from Dominion.

Lots of Newfoundlanders still do.
posted by oulipian at 2:38 PM on August 4


If you've never been Dominionated, there are folks who will do so for a reasonable fee.

$20 +GST, same as in town.
posted by Kabanos at 3:01 PM on August 4 [2 favorites]


>>I grew up eating food from Dominion.

>Lots of Newfoundlanders still do.

Sort of! The old big-red-D Dominion was bought out by A&P, which sold off all the Newfoundland stores (but not the brand) to independents back in the eighties. A&P was then bought out by Metro, which licenses the Dominion name (but not the logo) to Loblaws for their stores in Newfoundland.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:09 PM on August 4 [1 favorite]


(The corporate history of Canadian supermarket chains is weird like that.)
posted by Sys Rq at 3:11 PM on August 4


“The Dominion” sounds like the kind of place that would invade its southern neighbor and burn their capitol.

Actually, that was mostly the empire (the dominator ) but the dominion was totally down with it and to this day still enjoys this bit of history.
posted by srboisvert at 4:50 PM on August 4 [2 favorites]


Yeah, there's probably pictures somewhere of Trudeau dressed like this

It took me a second to realize you weren't talking about Pierre at the Grey Cup.
posted by bethnull at 6:18 PM on August 4 [3 favorites]




Ashwagandha: That is a surprisingly useful FAQ on Canada's Dominion status especially since it comes from professional blowhard JJ McCullough.

The only Canadian who actually pronounces "about" as "aboot".
posted by clawsoon at 7:20 PM on August 4 [2 favorites]


If you've never been Dominionated, there are folks who will do so for a reasonable fee.

Canada: It's a kink thing.
posted by dialMforMara at 9:17 PM on August 4 [2 favorites]


I thought the last use of "Dominion" was "Dominion Archivist" - changed to "National Archivist" in 1987. Oh well, #TIL
posted by e-man at 9:31 PM on August 4


If you've never been Dominionated, there are folks who will do so for a reasonable fee.
$20 +GST, same as in town.


Was waiting for someone to write something like this, was not disappointed.
posted by e-man at 9:32 PM on August 4 [1 favorite]


There's also The Domination - a sort of mirror-universe apartheid-era South Africa on steroids.
posted by e-man at 9:34 PM on August 4


Neat. I've had a thing for formal names of countries since I used the term United States once and a co-worker asked - "which one - of America or Mexico?".

I quite like Brunei's formal name being the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace. (except for the part where that title doesn't really apply so much if you are female, LGBTQ, or don't participate in the state religion of choice.)
posted by inflatablekiwi at 12:43 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


There's also the Dominion City Brewing Co, a brewery based in Ottawa.

In addition to producing a number of very nice beers, they also used to* put on Canada Day parties. However, they called them Dominion Day parties, using the pre-1982 term.

* - back before All This
posted by The Outsider at 12:50 PM on August 5


Jumping back in this thread to say I do think there's another position with "Dominion" in the title!

The Dominion Sculptor of Canada works with the Public Services and Procurement department (formerly Public Works and Government Services Canada) and the position has been around since the late 30s, which means its just old enough that it would have predated the debate on the phasing out of Dominion in the parliamentary vocabulary.

Just thought I'd share, as it cost me a point in my ongoing workplace parliament trivia game!!
posted by Wandering_Boots at 12:03 PM on August 6


Ashwagandha: That is a surprisingly useful FAQ on Canada's Dominion status especially since it comes from professional blowhard JJ McCullough.

The only Canadian who actually pronounces "about" as "aboot".


JJ has a weird sideline in apolitical factoid videos. Not a bad strategy for him to keep his efforts compartmentalized and diversified, given that whatever sordid blackmail situation compels the Washington Post opinion page editor to keep giving him a regular "here's another shitty take on Canada" column is bound to run out at some point.

And yes, any time I hate myself enough to watch one of JJ's videos, I am struck by his bizarre pronunciation of "about". Unless he's a time-travelling Nova Scotian fisherman from the mid-19th century, he did not grow up talking that way, which means he actually decided that this weird affectation would be "fun" and "quirky".
posted by senor biggles at 7:40 AM on August 7


senor biggles: And yes, any time I hate myself enough to watch one of JJ's videos, I am struck by his bizarre pronunciation of "about".

Here he his talking aboot it. "Canadian raising" is what he says it's called, with the "raising" referring to tongue position.
posted by clawsoon at 5:11 PM on August 7


« Older "It would seem I had planned everything according...   |   Four Hylian shrooms Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments