Victoria Day Story

French: Fête de la Reine

Also called May Long Weekend, May Long, May Two-Four, May Run

Observed by Canadians

Type : Historical, cultural, nationalist

Celebrations Fireworks, parades

Date Last Monday preceding May 25

2018 date May 21, 2018

2019 date May 20, 2019

2020 date May 18, 2020

Frequency annual

Related to Birthday of Queen Victoria

Victoria Day (French: Fête de la Reine, or "Celebration of the Queen") is a federal Canadian public holiday celebrated on the last Monday preceding May 25, in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday. As such, it is the Monday between the 18th to the 24th inclusive, and thus is always the penultimate Monday of May. The date is simultaneously that on which the current Canadian sovereign's official birthday is recognized.[1] It is sometimes informally considered the beginning of the summer season in Canada.

The holiday has been observed in Canada since at least 1845, originally falling on Victoria's actual birthday (24 May 1819). It continues to be celebrated in various fashions across the country; the holiday has always been a distinctly Canadian observance.[2][3] Victoria Day is a federal statutory holiday, as well as a holiday in six of Canada's ten provinces and all three of its territories. In Quebec, before 2003, the Monday preceding 25 May of each year was unofficially the Fête de Dollard, a commemoration of Adam Dollard des Ormeaux initiated in the 1920s to coincide with Victoria Day. In 2003, provincial legislation officially created National Patriots' Day on the same date.

History of Victoria Day in Canada

As the long reign of the four Georges drew to an end, the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of York and Strathearn (son of George III) and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, ascended the throne. Alexandrina Victoria, the young princess, crowned Queen Victoria of England, wafted in like a fresh breeze across Britain and held her subjects in thrall until her death in 1901. The 63 years and 7 months of her reign became known as the Victorian Era, throughout which Queen Victoria influenced everything from politics to fashion to furniture to the mores of the day.

A time of great change in the world, the Victorian era ushered in such inventions as the automobile, electricity and indoor plumbing and spawned rapid changes in industry along with amazing scientific discoveries. Victoria’s reign coincided with a time when, spurred by the advent of photography, the phenomenon that would become mass media was putting down its roots. Women’s magazines featuring home making, motherhood and fashion were gaining popularity. The Illustrated London News made it their mission to “connect the cottage to the palace.”

The young Queen’s portrait was, quite literally, everywhere, rapidly becoming public property. The coronation and her marriage to Albert caused frenzy in the portrait distribution business. Images were put on medallions, ribbons, in the papers, and portraits, suitable for framing, appeared in pull-out sections of periodicals. Never had anyone been so thoroughly followed and emulated. The Queen’s jewelry and fashion, along with that of her family and members of the court, influenced the world.

Jewelry was extremely important in the life of the Queen. As a girl, gifts of jewelry and accessoires were abundant. These items were of the fashion of the time and not particularly notable but, held great sentimental value. Court life was lively and gay under the reign of the young Queen. She wore jewelry liberally and abundantly. The Crown Jewels and treasures from prior generations of royals were re-set and re-styled to suit the Queen. A sunray necklace from Queen Adelaide was worn often by Victoria as a diadem. A Royal portrait depicted her in George IV’s regal circlet with Queen Charlotte’s diamond earrings. Symbolically she wore a serpent bracelet to her First Council showing her aspirations for “the wisdom of the serpent”. This jewelry served as a dynastic continuity for the Crown.

Queen Victoria (24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was the ruler of the United Kingdom and the British Empire from 20 June 1837 until her death in 1901. Victoria reigned for 63 years and seven months, a record for a British monarch.