What to do for the “Two-Four” weekend

Ruth Griffiths

“The Twenty-Fourth of May is the Queen’s Birthday.

If we don’t get a holiday, we’ll all run away.”

You might remember that little ditty if you grew up in the post-war era. Celebrating the Sovereign’s Birthday was popular with children because it usually meant a day off school.

After the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, the Canadian government set aside a day to honour her, thus establishing Victoria Day as May 24.

But this year, Victoria Day is May 20. That’s because in the 1950s, Canada moved Victoria Day to the Monday preceding May 24. Our King, Charles III, was born Nov.14, 1948,  but a year ago a proclamation declared Victoria Day as the date on which to celebrate his birthday in Canada.

Canadians love Victoria Day, but often don’t do much to celebrate the monarchy beyond enjoying an extended weekend. It has become a weekend for opening up the cottage, barbecues or gardening. It is a  federal holiday and a provincial holiday except in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

In Saskatchewan, Victoria Day will be celebrated in Regina with a family friendly birthday party at Government House. There will be a car show in the parking lot, a petting zoo, facepainting and cookies.

According to  the Canadian Royal Heritage Trust website the King’s Birthday celebration in Canada started with a military flavour. “It was the occasion when the local militia, all the able-bodied men in a community, undertook their one day of compulsory training, if one could call it training. Basically they marched around for a couple of hours on the village square carrying their own muskets or rifles or pitchforks, then went for a beer at the local pub. The promotion of the Victoria Day weekend by a Canadian beer company as the Two-Four (acase of 24 beer) Weekend actually has historic roots therefore.”

Whether you are in the garden, out at the lake or opening a case of beer this Victoria Day, take a second or two to wish the King a “Happy