The first Monday of August is a holiday for people in many parts of Canada. It is a statutory holiday in some provinces and territories but in others, it has another legal status. It is often called the August Holiday, Civic Holiday, Provincial Day, or other local names, such as Terry Fox Day in Manitoba.
Is Civic/Provincial Day a Public Holiday?
Civic/Provincial Day is a public holiday in Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Ontario, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.
Celebrate Civic/Provincial Day
On the first Monday in August and, in some places, throughout the first week of August, various events are held to celebrate aspects of local culture, history and achievement. Many celebrations are low-key and are organized by community members. These include: making and distributing birthday cakes for the province; sports events; and communal meals, such as breakfasts, barbecues, lunches and suppers. Larger events include professional displays of fireworks, road races and cultural festivals.
The legal status of the first Monday in August varies between provinces and territories. It is a statutory holiday in British Columbia (British Columbia Day); New Brunswick (New Brunswick Day); Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan Day), Nunavut (Civic Holiday), and the Northwest Territories (Civic Holiday). It is also a holiday of some form in Alberta (Heritage Day), Manitoba (Terry Fox Day), and Nova Scotia (Natal Day).
Schools, post offices, as well as many businesses and organizations are closed, while many workers have a day off in these areas. People are advised to check with the local authorities, transport services, and businesses as to when services and stores are available on this day. Large-scale parades, road races, and other public events may cause some local disruption to traffic in some towns and cities.
The first Monday of August is not a public holiday in Quebec and Yukon. In Ontario, the day has different names in each region, among them Civic Holiday, Simcoe Day, and Colonel By Day. It is not a public holiday in this province. So, while some employers in Ontario give their employees a holiday on the first Monday in August, they are not required to do so under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA).
About Civic/Provincial Day
In many parts of Canada, the holiday on the first Monday in August is simply known as Civic Day or the August Holiday. However, a wide range of local names is also used. Some of these include the names of provinces, such as British Columbia Day, New Brunswick Day and Saskatchewan Day. Others use a name to highlight a particular aspect of the celebrations, such as Natal Day in Nova Scotia, which marks the “birthday” of this province. Another example is Heritage Day in Alberta, which is an occasion to celebrate the heritage of the people of the province. The origins of the holiday on the first Monday in August seem to stem back to a “day of recreation” first organized by Toronto City Council in 1869.
In Ontario, a range of local names are used, which often honour significant people in the history of the province. In Toronto, the first Monday in August is known as Simcoe Day after John Graves Simcoe, who founded the town of York, Upper Canada, which became Toronto. He was also the first lieutenant governor of the province. In Ottawa, it is called Colonel By Day in honour of John By, who led the construction of the Rideau Canal, or Waterway, and founded Bytown, which became the city of Ottawa.
In the provinces of Quebec and Yukon, celebrations of local history and culture are held on different dates. Quebec’s National Holiday is held on St Jean Baptiste Day, which is June 24. Discovery Day in Yukon is on the third Monday in August and commemorates the discovery of gold in the territory in 1896, which lead to the Klondike gold rush.
There are no symbols of the Civic Holiday that are used throughout Canada. However, each province and territory has its own flag and coat of arms. Many also have a provincial tartan and flowers, trees, birds and minerals or gemstones, which are used as symbols of the provinces.