The first Wednesday of August is Regatta Day, a local holiday in Newfoundland and InLabrador, also known as “The Largest Garden Party in the World”.
Is The Royal St John’s Regatta (Regatta Day) a Public Holiday?
The Royal St John’s Regatta (Regatta Day) is a public holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.
In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the holiday has been moved to Monday, August 3. The races held on this holiday have been cancelled to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
What Do People Do?
Large crowds of up to 50,000 people gather on the first Wednesday of August, weather and wind conditions permitting, to watch the Royal St. John’s Regatta.
The rowing race by Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John’s in the easternmost Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador is the oldest organized sporting event in North America.
Long and Proud History
The regatta has been part of Newfoundland history for nearly 200 years. The oldest record of an organized race dates back to 1816, but rowing matches among ships’ crews in St. John’s harbour were common even earlier, in the 1700s.
Also known as “The Largest Garden Party in the World,” Regatta Day is just as much about the social events on the shores, as it is about the rowers on the water.
Close Royal Ties
The Royal St John’s Regatta has close ties to the British monarchy. In 1860, Prince Albert Edward (later King Edward) visited the race. In 1978, the date of the regatta was moved to July in order to welcome Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip who were visiting the region.
Any year a coronation has taken place or a milestone–such as the Queens Diamond Jubilee–is celebrated, the regatta has been held in honour of the monarch. The Royal designation was incorporated in 1993, which prompted changes in the event and the development of a new crest.
The regatta has been cancelled due to the death of a British monarch. It has also been cancelled in sympathy, for instance during World War II from 1940 to 1945.
Are businesses Open or Closed?
Regatta Day is a local holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador. Some businesses may be closed, while others may have unusual opening hours due to the regatta.