Victoria Day

May 17th, 2013 by Dan Allan

Monday is Victoria Day!

Named after Queen Victoria, the holiday is also known as the Sovereign’s Birthday and celebrates the birthday of Queen Victoria and the current reigning monarch, regardless of their actual date of birth.

Canada has had six monarchs since Confederation:

  • Queen Victoria: born May 24, 1819; ruled from 1837 to 1901.
  • Edward VII: born November 9, 1841; ruled from 1901 to 1910.
  • George V: born June 3, 1865; ruled from 1910 to 1936.
  • Edward VIII: born June 23, 1894; ruled from January to December 1936.
  • George VI: born December 14, 1895; ruled from 1936 to 1952.
  • Elizabeth II: born April 21, 1926; began her reign in 1952.

Canada is a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II, the current monarch, is Canada’s head of state. The Queen is currently represented in Canada by Governor General David Johnston and ten provincial lieutenant governors.

Victoria was the Queen of the United Kingdom from 1837 until her death in 1901. Queen Victoria presided over many historic developments, including Canada’s Confederation in 1867. Victoria was known by many as “the Mother of Confederation.”

Victoria’s birthday was declared a holiday by the Legislature of the Province of Canada in 1845. After Confederation, the Queen’s birthday was celebrated annually on May 24 (unless that date was a Sunday).

After Victoria’s death in 1901, the Parliament of Canada passed an act to establish a legal holiday on May 24 called Victoria Day. Victoria Day has been observed on the first Monday before May 25 since 1952.


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