Victoria Day in Canada

Victoria Day Canada

What is Victoria Day

In Canada, the Victoria Day fiesta and the advent of summer are widely seen as complementary events. Despite being created to acknowledge Queen Victoria's birthday, Victoria Day is primarily celebrated in honor of the current British sovereign.

Victoria Day - Quick Overview

  • Time/Date: May 22
  • Category: Cultural
  • Where it’s Marked: Canada
  • Why it’s Marked: The day heralds the onset of summer and the advent of longer, brighter days.

History of Victoria Day 

Why do we commemorate Queen Victoria's birthday when she passed away more than a century ago?

She was reigning when Canada declared independence in 1867 and decided that Ottawa would serve as our nation's capital. The Canadian government established May 24 as a celebration in her honor when she passed away in 1901. Until 1956, Canada also commemorated the anniversary of the monarch, i.e., the emperor or empress of Great Britain, on many occasions, including Victoria Day and the monarch's actual birthday. 

The constituent assembly looked for ways to foster cultural and religious distinctions between English and French Canadians while finding common ground. Most English and French Canadians liked the concept of a national holiday commemorating the youthful Queen Victoria's birthday, which is observed on May 24. At the time, fidelity to the Crown was a value-added service characteristic that set Canadians apart from Americans. In the combined province, the sovereign was seen as a protector of minority rights.

Edward VII, Victoria's son and heir after her death in 1901, continued to observe May 24 as a holiday commemorating the late monarch but started celebrating his "authoritative" birthday in June. 

The Queen's formal anniversary in Canada was changed from June 21 to Victoria Day in 1957. Her birthday, April 21, is commemorated in June in the United Kingdom. Additionally, Victoria Day is observed formally on the Monday preceding May 25.

How to Celebrate Victoria Day 

During the 1840s, the inaugural public holiday went relatively unnoticed, but as the 19th century progressed, so did the celebrations. Canadians seemed to cherish the vacation since it celebrated the onset of warm temperatures and the dominant allegiance to the Crown. Five thousand people gathered in front of Government House in Toronto on Queen Victoria's 35th birthday in 1854 to applaud the monarch. Canada as a whole adopted the boisterous festivities in Toronto as the model. These ceremonies encompassed demonstrations, picnics, sporting events, artillery reviews, and fireworks displays. As more provinces entered Confederation, the formal celebrations grew across Canada.

Countries that Observe Victoria Day

Although the event focuses on a range of events throughout the states and provinces of Canada and Scotland, specifically with the most basic forms of celebrations, we have especially highlighted some unique and fun ways only the city of Victoria, Vancouver, takes on this birthday weekend. So, brace yourselves as we go through this series together! 

  • Among the most significant festivals of its sort to take place in North America is the Vancouver International Wine Festival. It features wines from throughout the globe. It consists of lectures, classes, meals, and wine-tasting occasions.
  • The Vancouver All British Field Meet is a significant occasion over the Victoria Day long weekend in May. At VanDusen Garden, it exhibits hundreds of vintage British automobiles. Prepare to witness hundreds of car enthusiasts with Rovers, Austins, Jaguars, MGs, Triumphs, Minis, and many stunning British automobiles at the car exhibition.
  • Every year, The Jurassic Quest makes its way to towns in North America. It's an entertaining and informative attraction: with enormous dinosaurs and kid-friendly activities. 
  • On the weekend, Monday, Fort Langley May Day is commemorated by a procession, municipal fair, and special festivities at the Fort. The May Queens of the town are piped in, and musical performances and May Pole dance during fair festivals. Victoria Day events usually feature historical weaponry, coopering, and blacksmithing displays.

Interesting Facts about Victoria Day 

All are aware of the Victorian era, a period that was occasionally suppressed. However, you might not be aware of many things about just the woman to whom we thank the first unauthorized relaxing time of our summertime annually.

  • Primarily Scotland and Canada observe the festival.
  • The Canadian government established Victoria Day as a national holiday in 1845.
  • Victoria Day is a Canadian custom that isn't observed in most of England. 
  • Only one jurisdiction or territory, Nova Scotia, has not declared the day an official holiday.
  • It was renamed National Patriots Day in Quebec, excluding the Queen allusion. 
  • Edward VII's imperial order from 1904 also added a Canadian concoction, Empire Day, to the May 24 date.
  • In 2003, it substituted for the Fête de Dollard holiday that had replaced Victoria Day in Quebec in 1918.
  • Although the holiday is now observed on various days, the original regulations specified that it must always be on May 24 unless that day falls on a Sunday.
  • It's also an encouragement to have more beer with family or friends, as it's the start of the summer season and a long holiday.
  • The celebrations in London, Ontario, for Queen Victoria's 62nd birthday were tragically cut short in 1881. An estimated 182 of the riverboat Victoria's occupants perished when it capsized while transporting dozens of revelers from Springbank Park to central London.

Unique Victoria Day Celebration Ideas 

No matter the large-scale gatherings or the late-night pyrotechnics. These easy and cheap ideas will let you celebrate Victoria Day at leisure while still having some fun!

  • Go Camping
  • Family backyard campfire
  • Create Fireworks crafts
  • Attend Street Eats Festival
  • Opt to see Niagara Falls for a short while
  • Watch movies such as The Young Victoria or Victoria & Abdul.

Victoria Day Quotes 

Quotations offer a more effective means of communication. They provide a more precise, more memorable way to express a concept. Thus, here are a few regarding Victoria Day.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” - Søren Kierkegaard

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” - Mother Teresa

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” - Gautama Buddha


1. How many provinces celebrate this day?

Ten provinces in Canada and all of its territories celebrate this holiday.

2. Is Victoria Day a national holiday as well?

Yes, it is a federal statutory holiday.

3. Does Quebec have a holiday on Victoria Day?

Victoria Day is not a holiday in Quebec, where businesses are permitted to remain open.

4. What are the other names of this holiday people address with?

The day is also recognized as ‘May two-four’ or ‘May Long Weekend.’

Victoria Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2022Mon23 MayVictoria DayPublic
2023Mon22 MayVictoria DayPublic
2024Mon20 MayVictoria DayPublic
2025Mon19 MayVictoria DayPublic
2026Mon18 MayVictoria DayPublic

We constantly update the dates of holidays that keep changing every year. However, while we revise and change some dates to be accurate, if you find any errors, kindly inform us . That will mean a lot to us.

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