Civic Holiday (Provincial Day)

Civic Holiday, also known as Provincial Day or August Holiday, is holiday which is celebrated in many parts of Canada on the first Monday in August. In some parts of Canada it is a statutory holiday and in other parts of Canada, it is an optional one. The purpose of this holiday is so residents can celebrate local history and culture, as well as take pride in the achievements of their people.

History of Civic Holiday

Civic Holiday is can be traced all the way back to the mid-19th century. This is when many cities in Upper Canada began to enjoy public holidays at the beginning of August or near the end of summer. It was a holiday that not only varied from city to city but also varied from year to year in the same city. Every year in the cities of London, Toronto and Hamilton, the mayor would proclaim a civic holiday for the residents. Traditionally, this would be followed by shops being closed and people heading on the railway to enjoy picnics. It didn’t take long for the idea to spread and by 1874, Manitoba had begun hosting annual public holidays around this time. As time passed, the holiday became more standardized and eventually most celebrations started taking place on the first Monday of August.

Civic Holiday is now a statutory holiday in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, New Brunswick and the Northwest territories. In Alberta, it is known as Heritage Day; in Ontario, it is known as Simcoe Day; in Nova Scotia, it is known as Natal day and in Manitoba, it is known as Terry Fox Day.

Civic Day Customs & Celebrations

Civic Day is celebrated in a wide variety of ways and the celebrations will differ from province to province and city to city. On this day, some people will head out on picnics or have BBQs. Some people will enjoy concerts, music festivals or fireworks on this day. Still other people will spend the day at home, enjoying the day as they would any other lazy summer holiday.