Picnics, parades, outdoor music, and fireworks are held in communities across Canada on Victoria Day. Many families take advantage of the extended weekend by going camping, hosting backyard barbecues, and spending time outside.
In Montreal, Victoria Day is celebrated with a parade through the streets to mark the official opening of the city's flower show. The event is followed by parties at which citizens can enjoy free food and entertainment.
In Toronto, there is a festival called Torontopia that features concerts, exhibitions, competitions, workshops, and more. It is held in downtown Toronto at Queen's Park Square and runs for three days during the last week of May.
In Vancouver, British Columbia, a parade celebrating Victoria's birthday is held each year on May 20. The parade begins at 10 a.m. at Georgia Street and Thurlow Way and ends at Cambie Street and Thurlow Way where visitors can see flowers in front of the Scottish Community Centre.
In Ottawa, Ontario, Canadians celebrate Victoria Day by holding a variety of events throughout the city. A popular event is the marathon burning of the Victoria Cross, which dates back to 1964 when it was initiated by mayor Jean Drapeau as a way to celebrate Canada's bicentennial.
Most towns across Canada will hold scheduled Canada Day festivities, which will often include outdoor public activities such as parades, carnivals, festivals, barbecues, air and marine exhibitions, fireworks, and free musical concerts, as well as citizenship ceremonies. In some cities, including Montreal and Toronto, Canada Day is celebrated with a large festival that includes many different performances by local and international artists.
In addition to these town-specific events, everyone in Canada gets to enjoy a national holiday on July 1st. The date was chosen because it is the anniversary of the birth of Canada's first prime minister, John A. Macdonald.
Canada Day is a federal holiday in Canada observed annually on July 1st since 1868 when it was adopted as an official day of observance by then-Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald. It is celebrated by people all over the country with parades, music, and other festivities at landmarks that have been designated Canadian sites.
Canada became the first country in the world to declare itself officially bilingual when it passed the Bilingualism Act in 1971. Today, more than 90 percent of Canadians can speak both English and French as their first language. However, nearly six million people in Canada identify themselves as being only able to speak English or French.
Most cities celebrate Victoria Day with parades, outdoor celebrations, and activities such as camping and grandiose firework displays. This holiday was created in 1845 by the British government to honor Queen Victoria. She had just died, so they were showing respect to her memory.
Before Canada became a country in 1867, it was part of the United Kingdom. At that time, Australia was also part of the UK, but it had its own flag and national anthem. So on this date each year, Canadians are expected to display the Canadian flag and listen to one of two songs — "O Canada" or "The Maple Leaf Forever."
In 1845, Victoria had not yet been crowned queen. Her husband, Prince Albert, is credited with proposing the idea of celebrating Victoria's death day as a national holiday, which would be called "Victoria Day." The holiday was first used in Toronto and then in other parts of Canada. It has become a federal holiday in all provinces except for Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick where it is known as "Elizabeth II Day."
People usually take time off from work to watch parades or participate in community events.
Cities across Canada plan special events to mark the occasion.