The Civic Holiday: What’s in a Name?
The first Monday of August is observed as a public holiday in most Canadian provinces. This day is frequently referred to as the “civic holiday,” but many provinces and municipalities give it different names.
Here are a few examples of how the holiday is marked across Canada:
- British Columbia Day was introduced in 1974 to recognize the “pioneers of British Columbia.”
- In Alberta, Heritage Day is an “optional holiday” held since 1974 to “recognize and celebrate the varied cultural heritage of Albertans.”
- Saskatchewan Day recognizes and celebrates Saskatchewan’s history and culture.
- Celebrated since 1976, New Brunswick Day recognizes the culture and the way of life in the province.
- Some municipalities in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island celebrate Natal Day. “Natal” means “to be born,” and the holiday recognizes the birth of the respective provinces.
In Ontario, the holiday is celebrated differently in many municipalities. Here are some examples:
- Toronto celebrates Simcoe Day. Major-General John Graves Simcoe was the first appointed Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada.
- Burlington observes Joseph Brant Day to commemorate Mohawk leader Joseph Brant Thayendanegea, the city’s first settler.
- Brantford celebrates Founder’s Day to honour the contributions of the families that influenced and shaped the history of the city.
- Sarnia celebrates Alexander Mackenzie Day. Mackenzie was Canada’s second prime minister and is buried in the city.
- Cobourg celebrates James Cockburn Day. Cockburn was one of Canada’s founding fathers and was appointed as the first Speaker of the House of Commons by Sir John A. MacDonald.
The holiday is not observed in Quebec, Yukon and Newfoundland and Labrador, but they hold regional celebrations of their own:
- In Newfoundland, the City of St. John’s celebrates Regatta Day on the first Wednesday of August. First held in 1816, the Royal St. John’s Regatta is North America’s oldest annual sporting event,
- The Yukon Territory celebrates Discovery Day on the third Monday of August. Discovery Day has been held since 1911 to commemorate the discovery of gold in the region.
- The Quebec National Holiday is held annually on June 24 to mark Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day and to celebrate French-Canadian culture.
Should the civic holiday have one name that is used throughout the country, or should we continue to celebrate unique regional identities?
2 Responses to “The Civic Holiday: What’s in a Name?”
Weekly Round-Up: August 2 | CIVIX Says:
August 2nd, 2013 at 1:30 pm
[…] Day in Alberta, Natal Day in Nova Scotia and PEI, and Simcoe Day in Toronto, to name just a few (our blog has a more detailed […]
Weekly Round-Up: August 1, 2014 | CIVIX Says:
August 1st, 2014 at 8:59 am
[…] Monday is a public holiday in most Canadian provinces. This day is frequently referred to as the “civic holiday,” but many provinces and municipalities give it different names. We blogged about many of them last year. […]
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