Victoria Day is unique to Canada

Ruth Griffiths

Victoria Day is a Canadian statutory holiday celebrated on the Monday preceding May 25 in every province and territory. This year Victoria Day is on May 23. It honours Queen Victoria’s birthday. Victoria Day also recognizes the birthday of our reigning monarch. Queen Elizabeth’s actual birthday is April 21; she is 96.
Victoria Day is sometimes called May Two-Four, a double entendre that refers both to the date around which the holiday falls (May 24) and Canadian slang for a case of 24 beers (a “two-four”), a drink popular during the long weekend. The May Long, as it is also known, is the start of summer. Some open up their cabin for the summer, some plant potatoes. Garage sales pop up with the dandelions.
Canada is the only country that has an official holiday to commemorate Queen Victoria’s birth on May 24, 1819. The holiday has been observed since before Canada was formed, originally falling on the sovereign’s actual birthday. It became official with an act of Parliament in 1901.
The holiday has always been distinctly Canadian.
In Australia The Queen’s Birthday is observed as a public holiday on the second Monday of June in most of Australia except western Australia where it is celebrated in autumn.
New Zealand celebrates the Queen’s birthday on the first Monday in June.
In the Falkland Islands, the actual day of the Queen’s birth, April 21, is observed.
In the United Kingdom, the Queen’s Official Birthday is now celebrated on the first, second, or third Saturday in June. This year it will be celebrated on June 11. In the UK, the most important and watched event related to the day is the historic military ceremony known as Trooping the Colour with a parade down The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, Festivities will include a fly-past of military aircraft as well as gun salutes fired at noon at Hyde Park. But the day is not a public holiday. However, the spring bank holiday is celebrated May 26 in United Kingdom.