At Least I Get a Day Off

Hasan Ahmed - 1T Nanotechnology
Posted on: June 2, 2017

Just a couple of weeks ago during Victoria Day long weekend, I thought to myself, “why do we celebrate some weird holidays? What makes them so special?” Not to say Queen Victoria wasn’t special; my question is why there are so many holidays that seem relevant to only a few of us, like Labour Day’s irrelevant “no wearing white rule” or Civic Holiday. So after finishing the fireworks that night, I decided to do some research on why we celebrate certain holidays here in Canada.

Victoria Day:

Queen Victoria was born on May 24, 1819, and was recognized as one of the longest reigning monarchs. It was officially recognized as a holiday back in 1845, where parades and fireworks would take place. Today, along with Canada Day and a few other statutory holidays, fireworks are only allowed on this date. We have some pretty strict laws on fireworks, and bylaws vary from city to city, so it’s nice to have an opportunity to fire some during great weather with better friends. Victoria Day is known as National Patriots’ Day in Quebec, and is sometimes referred to as the May two-four weekend (because 24 for the Queen’s birth date, and two-four references a 24 case of beers).

Labour Day:

This holiday celebrates the workers and union movements, and it is held on the first Monday of September, the last chance for students to relax before they start school the next day. One weird rule that you may have heard of is that you’re not allowed to wear white after Labour Day (which is more of an American saying). This had to do with wives of rich people back in 1800s, who would direct fashion statements at the time. Anyone who stood out would not be given attention. White was seen as summer fashion, which makes sense since it reflects the most light and keeps you cooler than black. Desert travelers usually wear white too, so this colour makes sense to be worn. But for some reason, it was frowned upon after Labour Day because it meant summer was over, and thus summer fashion was also out of season. It would come back on Memorial Day, which then signaled the beginning of the summer season. I mean, it wasn’t even a super heavily followed rule, but people did what they could to fit in, especially with rich people.

Civic Holiday:

Not a statutory holiday, but pretty much just a long weekend for August. According to statutoryholidays.com, it’s called Regatta Day in Newfoundland, Saskatchewan Day in SK, British Columbia Day in BC, Natal Day in Nova Scotia and PEI, Simcoe Day in Toronto, New Brunswick Day in New Brunswick, Colonel By Day in Ottawa, Heritage Day in Alberta and Joseph Brant Day in Burlington, ON. It is called Benjamin Vaughan day in the City of Vaughan, Ontario. This is probably the holiday that resonates most with the title of this article.

Family Day:

Introduced not too long ago, Family Day is only recognized in few provinces, but it was because there wasn’t a holiday between January and April, so it was introduced for people to spend some time with families (duh). It’s also pretty close to Valentine’s Day, so you can spend time with your significant other during the long weekend as a late Valentine’s treat.