Victoria Day has always been a special holiday for Canadians, as a chance to spend time with family and marking the start of the summer season and the start of spring for gardeners. This year marks the 200th year since the birth of Queen Victoria making the day even more momentous, giving us more of a reason commemorate the day in style.
The birthday of Queen Victoria has been a day for celebration in Canada for well over 170 years with early celebrations involving community events such as day-long fetes, gun salutes at midnight, picnics, firework displays, town picnics, pre-dawn serenades, parades, and even athletic competitions. In 1845 the first legislation was passed by the parliament of the Province of Canada to officially recognize May 24 as the Queen’s birthday, and by the 1890s, the day had become a “patriotic holiday”. Following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, May 24 was made by law to be known as Victoria Day, and later it became the last Monday falling before May 24, to give a long weekend to commemorate the queen. For most areas of Canada it is an official holiday and federal buildings fly the royal union flag.
The long weekend and day itself has many names in different regions, many being colloquial names, from The Queen’s Birthday, National Patriots Day, to Firecracker Day “May two-four weekend,” May Run, or May Long.
This year the Victoria Day holiday falls on Monday, May 20 but what in particular can seniors do to observe this upcoming Victoria Day?
Attend a Parade
Most cities in Canada will host a parade to commemorate the day. Find out what is happening in your local city and make a day of it. Enjoy the spectacle and join in with the celebrating crowd. Whether you go with grandchildren, friends or even on your own, the lively atmosphere will be sure to get you in a good holiday mood and bring back memories of Victoria days of your own childhood.
Get your cottage ready for the summer
Victoria Day traditionally marks the start of the summer season, and those with cottages use the weekend to reverse winterization and to open their cottage ready to be used for the year. For those without cottages, you can still follow the principle and spend the weekend focussing on making your home as fresh and tidy as it can be ready for a summer season of outdoor entertaining, relaxing in the longer evenings, and welcoming in nature.
Change to Summer Wardrobe
Another tradition around Victoria Day is for people to stop wearing the dark colours of winter and to wear light colours for the summer. Embrace this tradition and use the long weekend as a chance to clear out your winter wardrobe and replace it with your summer clothes. In the process you can take the opportunity to clear out anything you’ve not worn for a while and make a donation to a thift store. Then you can start the summer season feeling organised and ready for the summer.
Go to a Fireworks Display
Celebrating Victoria Day with fireworks dates back to as early as the day itself which is why in some provinces it is known as firecracker day. What could be better and more celebratory than gathering together with your family, friends or partner and watching a display in the warm early summer evening, having the chance to reflect on 200 years of history.