National and Provincial Public Holidays

New Year’s Day

January 1

Common ways to celebrate include counting down the seconds before midnight on New Year’s Eve, attending parties and festivals, and watching fireworks.

Family Day (Alberta)

Third Monday in February

Family Day is associated with no specific celebrations, although it was originally created to give people time to spend with their families.

Good Friday

Friday before Easter Sunday

Good Friday is a Christian holiday and is part of a four-day “Easter Weekend”.

Easter Monday

Monday after Easter Sunday

There are several traditional ways to celebrate Easter, both religious and non-religious. Easter eggs and rabbits are common symbols of the holiday and many people celebrate by painting eggs or hunting for hidden, colourful eggs filled with candies and chocolates.

Victoria Day

Monday preceding May 25

Also commonly referred to as the “May long weekend”, this holiday honours Queen Victoria’s birthday. It unofficially marks the start of the summer camping season, and many Canadians go camping or hiking on this weekend.

Canada Day

July 1

Canada Day celebrates the birthday of Canada. Common ways to celebrate include attending barbecues, festivals, parades, and viewing fireworks.

Civic Holiday

First Monday of August

Also commonly referred to as the “August long weekend”, there is no particular celebration associated with this holiday, but it is a popular time to go camping.

Labour Day

First Monday of September

Labour Day is the last long weekend of summer. No specific activities are associated with its celebration, but it is also a popular time to go camping or spend time outdoors.

Thanksgiving

Second Monday in October

Thanksgiving is usually celebrated by eating a turkey dinner with family or friends. Pumpkin pie is a favourite dessert. Many families will also take a moment to reflect on what they are grateful for. Canadian Thanksgiving is not to be confused with American Thanksgiving, which occurs in November.

Remembrance Day

November 11

Remembrance Day honours veterans and members of the armed forces. Many people wear poppies on their lapels before and on Remembrance Day to show respect and support for Canadian troops. In some assemblies or ceremonies, a moment of silence is observed.

Christmas Day

December 25

Christmas is a Christian holiday, however many non-religious Canadians observe it. Most families have their own traditions, but common ones include decorating a Christmas tree and exchanging gifts.

Boxing Day

December 26

Boxing day is the day after Christmas. It is a popular day to go shopping, as there are often many discounts and sales offered by retailers.

Valentine’s Day

February 14

In Canada, Valentine’s day is a celebration of love. Romantic partners will often spend time together on a date. Gifts of flowers and chocolates are common. Many school-aged children will distribute "valentines" or small cards to the students in their class.

Halloween

October 31

Canadians often decorate their houses with skeletons, cobwebs and other “spooky” items for this holiday. Children usually dress up in costume and go “trick-or-treating” door-to-door, where they collect candy from neighbours. Adults may attend costume parties or visit haunted houses. In Canada, costumes can be scary, but they are just as likely to be based in pop-culture.

Many other holidays and celebrations are also observed in Canada by families of different cultures, faiths, and traditions.