Celebrating Victoria Day: 24 Week-end!

 

Victoria Day 2011 Long Weekend Overview

In 2011, Victoria Day falls on Monday, May 23.

 

 

Victoria Day is a public holiday observed across Canada on the Monday before May 25th.

 

 

Victoria Day is celebrated on the first Monday preceding May 25th. It is a statutory holiday throughout all of Canada except the Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island).

Victoria Day falls on the second to last Monday in May, which is usually the third weekend, but can be the fourth in years like 1999 where the 31st falls on a Monday. It falls on the weekend preceding Memorial Day in the United States. Some cities celebrate this day with fireworks in the evening.

Victoria Day is officially the Sovereign’s birthday. The Sovereign’s birthday was first observed in Ontario (then called Canada West) in 1845 to celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria of England (1837-1901).

After the death of Queen Victoria, 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. An amendment to the Statutes of Canada in 1952 established the celebration of Victoria Day on the Monday preceding May 25, making it the first long weekend of the summer season.

From 1953 to 1956, the Queen’s birthday was celebrated in Canada on Victoria Day. In 1957, Victoria Day was permanently appointed as the Queen’s birthday in Canada. In the United Kingdom, the Queen’s birthday is celebrated in June.

Victoria Day has also been known as the Queen’s Birthday, Empire Day, and Commonwealth Day. The holiday name was changed to Empire Day in the 1890s when enthusiasm for the British Empire was at a peak. By the mid-20th century, however, the Empire had given way to the Commonwealth, so the holiday became known as Commonwealth Day. In 1977 Commonwealth Day was moved to the second Monday in March and Canadians continued to celebrate Victoria Day in May.

In Québec, since 2003 it has also been known as National Patriots’ Day to honor the rebellion against the British in 1837. Before 2003 in Québec it was known as la Fête de Dollard or Dollard Day in honor of the 17th century soldier, Adam Dollard des Ormeaux.

Victoria Day celebrates Queen Victoria’s birthday (May 24th). Canada is still a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, of which the Queen is head.

Victoria Day is always on a Monday, and thus the holiday is part of a long weekend, which is commonly referred to as the Victoria Day Weekend, the May Long Weekend, the May Long, or the May Two-Four (a case of beer there is called a “two-four” and many of these are consumed over the holiday). The weekend is also called the May 24th weekend, although it does not necessarily fall on May 24th.

The Victoria Day Weekend always falls on the weekend before Memorial Day in the U.S.

The Victoria Day Weekend is the first popular weekend for spring / summer travel. Lots of people open up their cottages, plant gardens, or just get away. Expect crowds at resorts and hotels and busy highways. Fireworks displays are common, especially on Monday night.

Banks, schools, many stores and restaurants are closed on the Monday. Call ahead to find out about other attractions and tourist spots. Public transportation will run on a holiday schedule.

When is Victoria Day?

2010: Monday, May 24, 2010
2011: Monday, May 23, 2011
2012: Monday, May 21, 2012
2013: Monday, May 20, 2013
2014: Monday, May 19, 2014
2015: Monday, May 18, 2015

 

 

See a listing of public holidays in Canada.

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