Victoria Day, why?

A major player in Canada’s history

When I was a kid we called it Firecracker Day.

For others it’s the May 2-4 or May Long Weekend.

On the calendar, it’s known as Victoria Day, named in honour of Queen Victoria.

Who?

Why?

Maybe this will help.

Birth of Queen  Victoria

Alexandrina Victoria (named after her godfather Tsar Alexander I and her mother Princess Victoire) was born May 24, 1819. She succeeded to the throne in June 1937 (at the age of 18), following the deaths of her father, King Edward, and her three uncles.

Mother of Confederation

Victoria was a significant figure in Canada’s birth as a nation. She was Queen when Canada became its own country in 1867. She also chose Ottawa as our capital noting it was sheltered from potential American invasions and stood on the border between English and French Canada.

Origin of Victoria Day

The monarch’s birthday had been celebrated in Canada since before Victoria’s reign, usually on the King’s or Queen’s actual birthday.

After Victoria’s death, in 1901, Canada declared May 25 as Empire Day. Then, in 1952, Empire Day was moved to the Monday before May 25. In 1958, Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day and moved to the second Monday in March and the Monday before May 25 officially became Victoria Day – a statutory holiday.

Did you know?

  • Queen Victoria survived several assassination attempts, becoming more and more popular after each attempt
  • Victoria popularized anaesthesia at childbirth; she had requested chloroform for the births of two of her nine children

Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their children via Wikimedia
  • She began the wedding trend of the bride wearing white and asking guests not to wear white so as not to draw attention away from her
  • Queen Victoria and Prince Albert began the custom of the Christmas Tree in 1848 when they sent decorated trees to schools and army barracks
  • Victoria is the second-longest serving British monarch (63 years and 216 days); Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch on September 9, 2015.