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Victoria Day (Fete de la Reine – Celebration of the Queen) officially became known as Victoria Day after her death in 1901 to honour her as the Mother of Confederation. It is celebrated each Monday on or before May 24th. Before her passing, Canadians and other British Commonwealth countries celebrated her birthday on the 24 of May each year after she was crowned the Queen of England. Her reign lasted from 20th June 1837 until she died in 1901.

Today Canada remains the only Commonwealth country that celebrates her day as a Statutory Holiday. All government offices are closed; schools are closed; libraries, post offices and banks are closed, while retail stores treat it like a Sunday with reduced hours.

Some interesting facts about Victoria Day:

  • Nova Scotia is the only province that does not recognize it as a statutory holiday, but schools are closed and many are given the day off with no pay.

  • Although a statutory holiday in New Brunswick, it is not a paid holiday under their Days of Rest Act.

  • In Quebec, National Patriots Day is celebrated on the same day. It is the commemoration of the Lower Canada Rebellion in 1837.

  • It is known widely across the nation as the May long weekend as the official start of summer, where people with cottages or cabins that are not used over the winter officially open them up for use.

  • In some parts, it is known as “May Two-Four” from the slang used for a 24 pack of beer known as a Two-Four. As people flock to their cabins, the sales increase significantly during that long weekend.

In places like Gimli, situated along Lake Winnipeg, or Lundar near Lake Manitoba, the populations begin to increase over the May long weekend with out-of-town residents opening up their cabins.

Sites all over the country are made ready for people with campers, RVs, or tents. The highways are crazy busy that Friday with vehicles pulling these campers or boats, maybe even both, with RVs, both big and small, that have been pulled out of storage, cleaned and stocked for that very special weekend. Vehicles are packed to the hilt with camping gear. It is an exciting time for many, especially families. Even the young people get together with their “Two-Fours” ready to party the whole weekend.

As Vestur Islingdingurs, there is no real significance to Victoria Day, but as Canadians, it is a time to recognize our Commonwealth roots. It is also the start of warmer weather, the end of a long winter, and a time to enjoy and have fun.


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