Banks, Government offices,
Liquor Stores and many other businesses are closed on Statutory
Holidays. (and Sundays for that matter). Most Supermarkets are
usually open. Border crossings into the United States are also
usually exceptionally busy on these days, as they are on the US
Holidays as well. This is especially so, when a Statutory Holiday
falls next to a weekend, or corresponds with a holiday in the US.
If a Statutory Holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the closest
Monday or Friday is usually an official day off instead. Ferries
to Vancouver Island are also exceptionally busy on Holiday
weekends between May and September and at Christmas. You can
expect to wait for up to 4 sailing's (4 hours) unless you are a
New Years Day:
Jan 1st. Also Holiday in the US. (The US also celebrates
Martin Luther King Day, the third Monday in January. This is not a holiday in
Varies from year to year, but falls in
March or April on the Easter weekend. Occasionally Easter and
Spring Break (Schools) coincide, making this a busy time at
The Monday following Good Friday. This
is not a holiday for everyone. It is usually negotiated in Union
Contracts. Government offices will be closed. Liquor Stores are
closed. Pubs are open.
Falls on Monday preceding the 25th of May, which is usually the
3rd weekend, but can be the fourth in some years. It nearly always falls on the
weekend preceding Memorial Day in the US. This holiday is loosely based on Queen
Victoria's' birthday. Very odd, since it is not even observed in Britain. This
holiday is called Patriotes Day in Quebec where they don't like anything
St. Jean Baptiste Day:
June 24th. Only observed in Quebec. This holiday originated in France. The origin of the holiday was the pagan celebration
of the summer solstice; a celebration of light and a symbol of hope. Then, in
the reign of the French king Clovis, the annual event was Christianized and
became a religious celebration of the birth of John the Baptist.
This is Canada's' birthday. It falls on July 1st.
Independence Day in the US falls on the 4th. This combination makes for busy
border crossings, especially if Canada Day falls on a Friday and Independence
Day on a Monday. There are lots of events and celebrations on both sides of the
This is what they call a "bank Holiday" in the U.K. and
falls on the first Monday in August.
This is not a holiday in all parts of Canada.. It is, however, a
Civic Holiday (under different names) in most Provinces.
A holiday dedicated to the struggles of the labour movement..
It falls on the first Monday in September. (Called Labor Day in the US)
Second Monday in October. (Thanksgiving day in the US falls on the fourth
Thursday in November instead.). It sometimes corresponds with Columbus Day in
the US. Why the date is different on both sides of the border, I don't know. Its
nice to have a holiday in October, rather than 2 in November, though. It
possibly has something to do with the earlier harvest in Canada, due its its
11th. (called Veterans Day in the US,
Armistice Day in the UK).
December 25th. Everything closed. In case your not from a
predominantly Christian country, this is supposed to be the birthday of Jesus
Christ. Its probably about 6 months out. Its become so commercialized that its
original significance is lost in a frenzy of gift buying & consumerism. In
Canada, it is widely celebrated by both Christians & non-Christians alike.
This one confuses Americans since they don't observe it. (It originated in
England. I think it was the day when people boxed up Christmas leftovers to
deliver to the poor. One American friend of mine thought we all went out to
watch boxing matches). This is the biggest shopping day of the year with large
savings and huge line-ups especially for electronics, computers, etc. I suspect
the recent slide in the Canadian Dollar will cause a big influx from across the
border this year.
Commonwealth Day: Second
Monday in March. This is not an official holiday as of yet and does not affect
Most of these Holidays apply
across Canada. The only exception is Quebec, where some Holidays,
traditionally celebrated in France are also holidays there.
There are several other
holidays associated with different racial groups in Vancouver,
especially those associated with the Chinese and East Indian
Communities. Many of the events connected with these, are open to
the general public.