Why Do We Celebrate Victoria Day?

When it comes to holidays the first thought that crosses our minds is “Ah yes! A Free Day Off, No School, No Work!” We get excited about how we want to spend our work-free long weekend. While it is true holidays usually mean a free day off, the history and origin of each statutory holiday is often forgotten over time. Next week on May 20th, 2019, some provinces and territories across Canada will be observing and celebrating Victoria Day. However, who is “Victoria” and why is there a national holiday named after her?

In short, Victoria Day is a holiday observed in Canada to celebrate the birthday of the former Queen of the United Kingdom, Queen Victoria. Historically, Canada was part of the British Empire as early as 1763 which meant that major British celebrations were often also celebrated in Canada, especially birthdays of the monarch of Great Britain. Following Victoria’s death in 1901, the Canadian Parliament passed an Act that established May 24th (Victoria’s birthdate) as a legal holiday each year under the name of Victoria Day.

Did you know that Victoria Day was permanently appointed as the Queen’s birthday as of 1957?

Currently in Canada, the birthday of Queen Elizabeth the Second is officially celebrated on Victoria Day, even though her majesty’s natural birthday is in April.

Victoria Day as with many other holidays is often a time for us to spend quality time with our beloved friends and family. From taking long weekend road trips to spending time at local tourist destinations such as the Royal Ontario Museum, Ripley’s Aquarium or Toronto Zoo, there is no shortage of things to do! Often, Vietnamese-Canadians celebrate Victoria Day by taking their families to Niagara Falls or Canada’s Wonderland to enjoy the beautiful tourist attractions and dazzling fireworks displays. Another fun activity Vietnamese-Canadians and many others like to do on Victoria Day long weekends is to go fishing, especially with the relaxed no licenses required for fishing this weekend.

Happy Victoria Day!

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