Civic Holiday

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Civic Holiday
Observed byCanada (most jurisdictions)
DateFirst Monday in August
2020 dateAugust 3  (2020-08-03)
2021 dateAugust 2  (2021-08-02)
2022 dateAugust 1  (2022-08-01)
2023 dateAugust 7  (2023-08-07)

Civic Holiday (French: congé civique) 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 officially known by that term only by the governments of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories where it is a territorial statutory holiday. The name "Civic" is in reference to municipalities (such as cities, towns, etc.) as this day is not legislatively mandated a public holiday across the country by the Canadian federal government and is often given a different, more specific name by some municipalities.

The holiday is known by a variety of names in other provinces and municipalities, including British Columbia Day in British Columbia, New Brunswick Day in New Brunswick, and Saskatchewan Day in Saskatchewan, where the day is a provincial statutory holiday across each province. The holiday is celebrated as Natal Day in Nova Scotia,[2] in commemoration of the founding of the Halifax–Dartmouth area, and Terry Fox Day in Manitoba, in honour of the nationally renowned Manitoba-born athlete.[3] Despite its special designations in Nova Scotia and Manitoba, the day is not a statutory holiday in those provinces, nor in Prince Edward Island.


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".[4] 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 is not a statutory holiday.


An official holiday on the first Monday in August was first proposed in Saskatchewan on 17 March 1975, by Gordon Snyder, Saskatchewan's Minister of Labour. The holiday was already celebrated by businesses across Saskatchewan but Snyder wanted it to be a recognized statutory holiday known as "Saskatchewan Day". His proposal was approved in June of that year and the first Saskatchewan Day was celebrated that August.[5]

British Columbia[edit]

In 1974, Surrey MLA Ernie Hall, part of the BC NDP government of Dave Barrett, introduced legislation in the provincial legislature to establish the day as a provincial statutory holiday.[6]


When not given a local name (such as in Mississauga[7]), the day is often referred to as "Civic Holiday" in Ontario.[8]

Civic Holiday is now known by one of a number of local appellations such as:

as well as numerous other names in smaller municipalities.

Although a work holiday is given to employees of the federal, provincial and many municipal governments (usually by inclusion in the contract with the employees' union),[1] the Government of Ontario has not defined this day as a statutory holiday that all employers must treat as a holiday and it is not mentioned in Ontario's Employment Standards Act nor the Retail Business Holidays Act.[20][21] Schools are generally already closed, regardless of the holiday's status, because of summer vacation. The Caribbean Cultural Festival, formerly known as Caribana, is held this holiday weekend in Toronto, coinciding with Emancipation Day.

Prince Edward Island[edit]

The holiday is not an official holiday, although some businesses may close for the day.[22] Additionally, federal workers receive the day off and federal services are closed, but municipal and provincial services and workers have varying decisions made on their status, with some choosing to have a day off in celebration of Gold Cup Parade instead.[23] This leads to a mix of openings and closings across the province. The capital city of Charlottetown has its own Natal Day, in early June, which should not be confused with Nova Scotia's Natal Day.[24]

Non-observing jurisdictions[edit]

The first Monday in August is not generally observed as a holiday in Quebec, parts of Newfoundland and Labrador, or Yukon, but replacement summer holidays may be observed as follows:

  • Quebec observes Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on 24 June.
  • In Yukon, Discovery Day is observed on the third Monday of August instead; it commemorates the 1896 discovery of gold in the territory and the start of the Klondike Gold Rush.[citation needed]
  • In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Shops Closing Act provides for a civic holiday on the date of the Royal St. John's Regatta (usually the first Wednesday of August) in St. John's, the date of the Harbour Grace Regatta (usually the fourth Saturday in July) in Harbour Grace, and a date fixed by the applicable municipal council in all other municipalities.[25] Several of these communities use the first Monday in August as a civic holiday, while others have not selected any date.
    • Due to the cancellation of the Royal St. John's Regatta in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic , the city made a one-time exception, with provincial approval, setting the first Monday of August that year as the civic holiday instead, in alignment with the other observing jurisdictions.[26][27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Holidays in the provinces and territories". Canadian Heritage. 21 April 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
  2. ^ "Natal Day in Canada".
  3. ^ "August holiday to be named Terry Fox Day, Manitoba premier says". Global News. July 2014.
  4. ^ "Heritage Festival Edmonton – The Festival History". Archived from the original on 5 August 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  5. ^ "What is Saskatchewan Day and how do we celebrate it?". Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  6. ^ Hoekstra, Matthew (29 July 2016). "B.C. Day is more than just a day off". Peace Arch News.
  7. ^ "The History Behind the Civic Holiday". Modern Mississauga Media Ltd. 29 July 2020. Retrieved 1 August 2020. There was some discussion, back in the early 2000s, of naming the Civic Holiday in Mississauga after Reverend Peter Jones (Kahkewaquonaby, 1802-1856), a renowned Chief of the Mississaugas at the Credit River, but this was not formally adopted. The official name for the holiday here remains the Civic Holiday.
  8. ^ "What's open/closed on holiday Monday". Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  9. ^ Washburn, Robert (2 August 2010). "Happy James Cockburn Day, Cobourg!!!". Consider This. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  10. ^ "George Hamilton Day". City of Hamilton. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  11. ^ Weymark, Jennifer (1 August 2018). "Celebrating McLaughlin Day in Oshawa". The Oshawa Express. Retrieved 1 August 2020. The August long weekend has not always been known as McLaughlin Day in Oshawa. Up until 1983, it was simply known as the Civic Holiday. The proposal to celebrate McLaughlin family, in particular R.S. McLaughlin, on the Civic Holiday was initiated by Alderman Ed Kolodzie. He felt there was a need to recognize the impact of the McLaughlin family on the city and city council decided that the Civic Holiday was the perfect day to do so.
  12. ^ "Colonel By Day". Heritage Ottawa. Retrieved 1 August 2020. Colonel By Day, held on the holiday Monday in August each year (in recognition of the Colonel's birth date of August 7, 1779) is an annual celebration of the history of the Rideau Canal and Bytown's founder, Lieutenant Colonel John By.
  13. ^ Boyce, Josh (7 August 2017). "Sarnia Recognizes Alexander Mackenzie Day". Retrieved 1 August 2020. Since the late 1990s, the Civic holiday in Sarnia has been known as Alexander Mackenzie Day in recognition of Canada's second Prime Minister.
  14. ^ "Civic Holiday to be Renamed Simcoe Day". Toronto Daily Star. 12 December 1968. p. 1.
  15. ^ West, Bruce (4 August 1969). "Simcoe's Day". Globe and Mail. p. 17.
  16. ^ a b "A holiday with history". Archived from the original on 10 April 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  17. ^ "Municipal Group Won't Condemn Regional Rule". Toronto Daily Star. 19 December 1968. p. 11.
  18. ^ "Proclamation: Simcoe Day". Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  19. ^ Kundacina, Anja. "Vaughan Wants To Change The Name Of A Holiday That Celebrates A Slave Owner". Retrieved 1 August 2020. Since 2013, the civic holiday has been named Benjamin Vaughan Day in the city to honour the historical figure. However, the city is now under pressure to change both the name of their city as well as the civic holiday due to the history of racism that the title carries.
  20. ^ "Employment Standards Act, 2000". Government of Ontario. 2000. Retrieved 4 August 2008.
  21. ^ "Retail Business Holidays Act". Government of Ontario. 1990. Retrieved 4 August 2008.
  22. ^ Toolkit, Web Experience. "Paid Holidays". Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  23. ^ "Aug. 6 holiday: What's open and closed on P.E.I." CBC News. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  24. ^ "Charlottetown will celebrate its 162nd birthday with Natal Day events". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  25. ^ Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (3 November 2014). "Public Advisory: 2015 Shop Closing Holidays". Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  26. ^ "Regatta holiday on a Monday? COVID-19 really has changed everything". 13 May 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  27. ^ "Regatta Day Replacement Holiday Officially Set for August 3". 10 July 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.