Why is Canada the only country to celebrate Victoria Day ?
Friday Apr 28th, 2023
When is Victoria Day in Canada?
Victoria Day is a federal Canadian statutory holiday observed on the Monday before May 25th each year.
Victoria Day is Canada's oldest non-religious holiday. It marks the birthday of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). Following the death of Queen Victoria, May 24th was decreed as Empire Day across the British Empire. Today, Canada is the only country who still has a holiday on the day.
History of Victoria Day in Canada
Queen Victoria (May 24th, 1819 – January 22nd, 1901) was the ruler of the United Kingdom and the British Empire from June 20th, 1837, until her death in 1901.
Victoria reigned for 63 years and seven months, a record for a British monarch that was only beaten in September 2015 by Queen Elizabeth II.
Though she never actually visited Canada, Queen Victoria grew up knowing a lot about Canada. Her father, the Duke of Kent (Prince Edward, fourth son of King George III), had lived for nearly ten years in Quebec City and Halifax.
Did you know?
Despite being one of the most famous British Monarchs, at birth, Victoria was only fifth in the line of succession for the British crown, behind the four eldest sons of George III, including her three uncles and her father, Edward.
For many Canadians, Victoria Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer, with many people opening their summer cabins. It is a popular holiday as it is the first holiday to take place in the warmer summer months.
In Quebec, which is a commemoration of the Lower Canada Rebellion of 1837 is celebrated on the same day as Victoria Day.
While Victoria Day is a holiday for all federal employees across Canada, it is not a paid statutory holiday in New Brunswick under the Days of Rest Act.
Nova Scotia is the only province or territory not to designate the day as a statutory holiday, though many employers will give staff the day off and schools are closed.
The holiday is called '' in some parts of Canada, a name that refers both to the date around which the holiday falls (May 24th) and Canadian slang for a case of twenty-four beers (a "two-four"), a drink popular during the long weekend.
As it always falls on a Monday, leading to a long weekend, it may also be known as 'May Long' or 'May Run'.
On Victoria Day, all city, state, and government offices are closed. Schools, post offices, banks, and libraries are also closed. Public transport will run on a reduced holiday schedule.
Why is Canada the only country to celebrate Victoria Day with an official holiday?
After the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, an Act was passed by the Parliament of Canada establishing a legal holiday on May 24 in each year (or May 25 if May 24 fell on a Sunday) under the name Victoria Day.