Public Holidays in Canada
As with other countries, there are many public holidays in Canada. Public holidays are set nationally; however, each of the 10 provinces and 3 territories have some public holidays that only they observe. On annual public holidays in Canada, government offices, businesses, schools and banks are closed, unless it is indicated that they will remain open.
– Monday (on or before) May 24.
– Celebrated in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday since her reign (1837-1901).
– Declared a holiday in 1845.
– The Holiday Act states that if this holiday falls on a Sunday, July 2nd is a public holiday.
– Celebrations include fireworks, parades, picnics and outdoor concerts.
– Day that the British North America Act 1987 united three colonies into one “Canada” under the British Empire.
– Originally called Dominion Day – it changed to Canada Day in 1982 when the Canada Act was passed.
– In Quebec July 1st is jokingly called “moving day” as it is the first day of all apartment rental agreements in the province.
– In Newfoundland/Labrador the closest Monday to July 1st is also “Memorial Day”, celebrating the loss of the provinces soldiers in the WWI Battle of Beaumont in 1916.
– November 11th – this date in 1918 was the official end of the World War I. Formally ended at the passing of the 11th hour, with Germany signing the Armistice.
– Observed in countries all around the world, remembering those who died in the line of duty, including: Britain, France and Belgium (as Armistice Day), USA (as Veterans Day), Australia and New Zealand, and Poland (as National Independence Day).
– Artificial poppy flowers are sold to raise money for veterans by the Royal Canadian Legion.
– Not a statutory holiday in Québec or Ontario.
– Held on the 1st Monday in September since 1880.
– Its origins trace back to December in 1872 to a parade in Toronto supporting the Toronto Typographical Union’s strike for a maximum 58 hour work week.
– This is also the last long weekend of the summer.
– The 2nd Monday in October (since 1957)
– A Canadian holiday, declared in 1879, to give thanks for a plentiful harvest season.
– A Public holiday in all but Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland/Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
– Celebrated on February 15th
– A commemoration of the first raising of the maple leaf flag over Parliament Hill in 1965
– Celebrated on April 22nd
– It is the largest environmental event, worldwide.
– Celebrated by the planting of trees (mostly by school children) and park clean ups etc.
Other public holidays in Canada include
– Mothers’ Day: 2nd Sunday of May
– Fathers’ Day: 3rd Sunday of June
– Christmas Day: December 25th
– Boxing Day: December 26th
– Good Friday/Easter Monday: March/April (date varies)
For a list of public holidays celebrated by individual provinces and territories, click here.
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