Today is Victoria Day, the celebration of Queen Victoria's birthday (May 24, 1819). What is interesting is that, while it is not celebrated in England, it has been in Canada since 1845, long before Confederation that established Canada as an independent nation. It's a bit of a long story about how the tradition has evolved but suffice it to say, it has continued long after Queen Victoria's death in 1901.
Here is some background:
- Victoria Day: Only in Canada (Macleans Magazine)
- Putting the Victorian Back into Victoria Day (Globe & Mail)
Victoria Day is an official holiday in Canada so government offices, banks, post offices, most businesses and stores are closed.
Victoria Day is the unofficial beginning of summer when Canadians in most of the country can be virtually guaranteed warm weather. It's the first long weekend when the weather is warm and all of the snow has melted in most parts of the country.
What does this mean? It's finally safe to plant gardens, without fear of early morning frost. It's also time for cottage owners to return to cottage country and open for the summer and boat owners to put their boats in the water. It's time for all Canadians to make plans to enjoy the warmer weather.
What happens on Victoria Day?
The Union Jack , the official flag of the United Kingdom, flies all day at federal government office buildings. Some communities have picnics, parades, street dances, cake cutting ceremonies, teas and garden parties.
At noon, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the nation's capital, and most provincial parliaments across the country, there is a 21-gun salute. (Since 2003, National Patriots' Day has been celebrated on this day in Quebec.)
When it gets dark, one can hear firecrackers and see fireworks displays in backyards, parks, beaches and amusement parks.
If you've never been to Canada during Victoria day, why not plan a conference, business meeting or team building retreat for this time next year? It's usually on the Monday before Memorial Day. Book well in advance as it's a holiday in Canada and many Canadians will be booking resorts. Visit some of the communities featured in the Cvent Blog and give your team a chance to join in the celebrations and try something different than what you experience at home or in other parts of the world.
Photo Credits: somecanuckchick