Civic Holiday

Civic Holiday
Observed by Canada
Date First Monday in August
2017 date August 7  (2017-08-07)
2018 date August 6  (2018-08-06)
2019 date August 5  (2019-08-05)
2020 date August 3  (2020-08-03)
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 and the Northwest Territories. Civic Holiday is recognized as a statutory holiday in those two territories.

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. 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 has been an "optional" civic holiday, having been downgraded from a statutory holiday following the introduction of Family Day in 1990.

British Columbia

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.[5]


The holiday was renamed "Simcoe Day" in Toronto in 1969, in honour of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and the leading proponent of the Act Against Slavery,[6][7][8] but a motion at the Ontario Municipal Association to extend the name change across Ontario failed.[8][9] According to a 2005 proclamation this name continues to apply in the present amalgamated city of Toronto.[10] Civic Holiday is now known by one of a number of local appellations such as:

as well as numerous other names in smaller municipalities.

When not given a local name, it is often referred to as "Civic Holiday".[11] 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 mentioned in neither Ontario's Employment Standards Act nor Retail Business Holidays Act.[12][13] 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.

Quebec, Newfoundland & Labrador, Yukon

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, and commemorates the 1896 discovery of gold in the territory and the start of the Klondike Gold Rush.
  • 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.[14] Several of these communities use the first Monday in August as a civic holiday, while others have not selected any date.

Prince Edward Island

The holiday is not an official holiday, although some businesses may close for the day.[15] 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, some choosing to have Gold Cup Parade day off instead.[16] This leads to a drastic 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.[17]

See also


  1. 1 2 "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. Hoekstra, Matthew (29 July 2016). "B.C. Day is more than just a day off". Peace Arch News.
  6. "Civic Holiday to be Renamed Simcoe Day". Toronto Daily Star. 12 December 1968. p. 1.
  7. Bruce West (4 August 1969). "Simcoe's Day". Globe and Mail. p. 17.
  8. 1 2 "A holiday with history". Archived from the original on 10 April 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  9. "Municipal Group Won't Condemn Regional Rule". Toronto Daily Star. 19 December 1968. p. 11.
  10. "Proclamation: Simcoe Day". Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  11. "What's open/closed on holiday Monday". Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  12. "Employment Standards Act, 2000". Province of Ontario. 2000. Retrieved 4 August 2008.
  13. "Retail Business Holidays Act". Province of Ontario. 1990. Retrieved 4 August 2008.
  14. Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (3 November 2014). "Public Advisory: 2015 Shop Closing Holidays". Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  15. Toolkit, Web Experience. "Paid Holidays". Retrieved 2018-08-08.
  16. "Aug. 6 holiday: What's open and closed on P.E.I." CBC News. Retrieved 2018-08-08.
  17. "Charlottetown will celebrate its 162nd birthday with Natal Day events". [[The Guardian (Charlottetown)|]]. Retrieved 2018-08-08.

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