Civic Holiday

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For the generic term, see Civic holiday.
Civic Holiday
Observed by Canada
Date First Monday in August
2014 date August 4  (2014-08-04)
2015 date August 3  (2015-08-03)
2016 date August 1  (2016-08-01)
2017 date August 7  (2017-08-07)
Frequency annual

Civic Holiday is the most widely used name for a public holiday celebrated in most of Canada on the first Monday in August,[1] though it is only officially known by that term by the governments of Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island, and Manitoba. It is a statutory holiday in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and Prince Edward Island, but not in Manitoba.

The holiday is known by a variety of names in different provinces and municipalities, including British Columbia Day in British Columbia, New Brunswick Day in New Brunswick, and Saskatchewan Day in Saskatchewan. The holiday is celebrated as Natal Day[2] in Nova Scotia, but is not a statutory holiday.

In 1974 the Government of Alberta, acting through Minister of Culture Dr. Horst A. Schmid, declared the first Monday in August an annual holiday to recognize and celebrate the varied cultural heritage of Albertans, known as Heritage Day.[3] This gave rise in 1976 to the Edmonton Heritage Festival, a three-day celebration of food, dance, and handicrafts of cultures from around the world. Heritage Day has been an "optional" civic holiday, having been downgraded from a statutory holiday following the introduction of Family Day in 1990.[citation needed]

The holiday was renamed Simcoe Day in Toronto effective 1969 in honour of the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and the promulgator of the Act Against Slavery,[4][5][6] but a motion at the Ontario Municipal Association to extend the name change across Ontario failed.[6][7] According to a 2005 proclamation this name continues to apply in the present amalgamated city of Toronto.[8] Civic Holiday is now known by one of a number of local appellations such as Colonel By Day in Ottawa, George Hamilton Day in Hamilton, Joseph Brant Day in Burlington, Founders' Day in Brantford, McLaughlin Day in Oshawa, Alexander Mackenzie Day in Sarnia, James Cockburn Day in Cobourg, Peter Robinson Day in Peterborough, and John Galt Day in Guelph, as well as numerous other names in smaller municipalities.[citation needed] When not given a local name, it is often referred to as 'Civic Holiday'.[9] Although a work holiday is given to employees of the federal and many municipal governments,[1] the Government of Ontario has not defined this day as a statutory holiday and it is not mentioned in either Ontario's Employment Standards Act or Retail Business Holidays Act.[10][11] Schools are generally already closed, regardless of the holiday's status, because of summer vacation. The Scotiabank Caribbean Cultural Festival, formerly known as Caribana, is held this holiday weekend in Toronto, coinciding with Emancipation Day.

The holiday is not generally observed in Quebec (as they already get two long weekends in a row with St. Jean de Baptist day, and Canada Day), Newfoundland and Labrador, or Yukon. In Newfoundland, the Royal St. John's Regatta, which usually occurs on the first Wednesday of August, effectively displaces the Monday holiday even though it is only officially celebrated as a civic holiday in St. John's. In Yukon, Discovery Day is observed on the third Monday of August instead, and commemorates the 1896 discovery of gold in the territory and the start of the Klondike Gold Rush.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Holidays in the provinces and territories". Canadian Heritage. 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  2. ^ "Natal Day in Canada". 
  3. ^ "Heritage Festival Edmonton - The Festival History". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  4. ^ "Civic Holiday to be Renamed Simcoe Day". Toronto Daily Star. 1968-12-12. p. 1. 
  5. ^ Bruce West (1969-08-04). "Simcoe's Day". Globe and Mail. p. 17. 
  6. ^ a b "A holiday with history". Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  7. ^ "Municipal Group Won't Condemn Regional Rule". Toronto Daily Star. 1968-12-19. p. 11. 
  8. ^ "Proclamation: Simcoe Day". Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  9. ^ "What’s open/closed on holiday Monday". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  10. ^ "Employment Standards Act, 2000". Province of Ontario. S.O. 2000. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ "Retail Business Holidays Act". Province of Ontario. R.S.O. 1990. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  Check date values in: |date= (help)