Victoria Day, which falls on May 22 this year, marks the beginning of summer and the advent of warmer, greener days for Canadians. However, similar to Independence Day in the United States, Victoria Day has more colonial origins than are typically discussed amidst the fireworks and festive celebrations. This day commemorates the birthday of Queen Victoria, who was the reigning monarch when Canada was founded in 1867. Canada Day is a day to honour everything that makes Canada, Canada.
HISTORY OF VICTORIA DAY
This commemoration of the iconic British monarch began in 1845, when the Canadian government declared Victoria’s birthday to be a national holiday. After Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, however, the holiday became firmly established as an official national holiday. Canada modified its celebrations for the Monday preceding May 25 in 1952.
Queen Victoria is significant to the Canadian people because she sat on the throne in 1867, when their independence as a British Empire entity was granted. In addition, she is responsible for designating Ottawa as the nation’s capital. Prior to 1956, the birthdays of succeeding monarchs were celebrated either on their actual birthdays or on May 25, Queen Victoria’s. Canada designated the 25th of May as Queen Elizabeth’s official birthday upon her accession to the throne, despite the fact that her actual birthday is April 21.
Contrary to popular belief, Victoria Day is not spent learning about the history of the British monarchy or creating miniature clay or paint sculptures of Queen Victoria. This day is all about ushering in the new summer season, a significant event for those who reside near the North Pole.
By the time this holiday arrives each year, Canadians have endured a lengthy, snowy, and dreary winter. As the leaves on the trees turn green and the cold is replaced by balmy breezes, Canadians don their swimsuits and enjoy their first swims, sports tournaments, and refreshing summer meals.
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5 JAW-DROPPING FACTS ABOUT QUEEN VICTORIA
- At the age of 18, Alexandra Victoria of England was crowned monarch.
- Albert and Victoria had nine offspring together.
- Victoria is responsible for the popularity of the white bridal dress among Western brides.
- Queen Victoria was the first to test the pain-relieving effects of chloroform during childbirth, because she had access to the most recent medical advancements.
- Victoria was the longest-reigning royal at the time of her demise, with 60 years on the throne.
VICTORIA DAY DATES