Click on any holiday below for more details and dates for the next 10 years.
Canadian Public Holidays
New Year's Day
New Year’s Day marks the first day of the year, January 1st, according to the Gregorian calendar. Many cultures celebrate this day as it marks the end of one year and the beginning of the next. For many, this day is symbolic in that it gives one an opportunity to reflect, assess accomplishment and failures, and marks a time to resolve to make positive changes for the future. Many celebrations occur to ring in the new year including fireworks at midnight, parades, time with family, and for many, New Year’s Day is a day of recover from New Year’s Eve celebrations the previous night.
Good Friday is observed on the Friday before Easter Sunday. It is a holiday rooted in the Christian faith. Good Friday is celebrated to reflect on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. It is important to Christians because it marks the end of the bondage of sin. Most Christians attend a special sermon where they are reminded of the events that took place at Calvary.
Victoria Day is a federal Canadian public holiday that is celebrated on the Monday preceding May 25. It was declared a holiday in 1845 in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday. For some, Victoria Day is a sign that summer is just around the corner. Today, it is a holiday that is celebrated throughout most of Canada with parades, outdoor events and activities like camping and elaborate firework displays. Quebec has its own holiday, also celebrated on the Monday before May 25th, called Journée Nationale des Patriotes.
Canada Day is a federal holiday that celebrates the anniversary of July 1, 1867, the effective date of the Constitution Act of 1867. This act united the three separate colonies of the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single dominion within the British Empire called Canada. In many towns and cities, municipal governments organize celebratory events. These include pancake breakfasts, parades, concerts, carnivals, festivals, firework displays and citizenship ceremonies for new Canadian citizens. During celebrations, Canada's national flag is widely displayed and a lot of people paint their faces red and white, which are Canada's national colors. The celebrations in Ottawa, which is Canada’s capital city, are particularly exuberant.
Civic Holiday is the most widely used name for a public holiday celebrated in most of Canada on the first Monday in August. The name "Civic" is in reference to municipalities (such as cities, towns, etc.) as this day is not a legislatively mandated public holiday across the country by the Canadian federal government. It is often given a different, more specific name by municipalities such as British Columbia Day in British Columbia, New Brunswick Day in New Brunswick, and Saskatchewan Day in Saskatchewan. Most people simply associate this holiday with having an extra day away from the office.
Labour Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September. It originally gave workers the chance to campaign for better working conditions or pay, but now is used to honor all members of the workforce. The day is part of a long weekend for many Canadians, which unofficially marks the end of summer. Many seasonal attractions and vendors close after the weekend, and it is generally thought of as the start of the fall season for students and tourist attractions.
Thanksgiving Day is an annual Canadian holiday, occurring on the second Monday in October. This holiday celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Churches and homes are sometimes decorated with cornucopias, pumpkins, corn, wheat sheaves, and other harvest bounty. While the actual Thanksgiving holiday is on a Monday, Canadians may gather for their Thanksgiving feast on any day during the long weekend; however, Sunday is considered the most common. Foods traditionally served at Thanksgiving include roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet corn, various autumn vegetables (mainly various kinds of squashes but also Brussels sprouts), and pumpkin pie. Canadian Thanksgiving coincides with the observance in the United States holiday of Columbus Day. As such, American towns with high levels of Canadian tourism will often hold their fall festivals over Thanksgiving/Columbus Day weekend, in part to draw and accommodate Canadian tourists.
Rememberance Day is a memorial day observed on November 11 (with a notable exception of NS, NWT, ON and QC). This day commemorates members of the armed forces (soldiers, sailors and airmen) who have died in the line of duty. All government buildings fly the Canadian flag on this day, and people remember those who fought for Canada during a two minute silence at 11am. Many people wear poppies before, and on, Remembrance Day to show their respect and support for Canadian troops.
Christmas Day is a day in which many Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. There are many religious and cultural celebrations during this time. Some of the mot common traditions in Canada are to erect a Christmas tree, decorate the home, hang stockings by the fireplace, prepare a special meal of turkey and vegetables, visit friends and family, and attend a religious ceremony held at church.
Boxing Day falls on the day after Christmas, December 26th, and is a public holiday across Canada. It is a day off of work for everyone, and if you have to go to work, you should be paid time and a half! It gives people the chance to take part in post-Christmas sales, watch ice hockey games, or just relax with family and friends.