The UK’s Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was born on May 24, which is why Canadians celebrate her birthday with a statutory holiday weekend in late May. It also may be why we call it the May “two-four” weekend. Of course, another, more popular reason may be that many Canadians typically head to the cottage or camp sites for the first warm-ish weekend, armed with a 24-case of beer (or more).
For these reasons alone, some may argue Victoria Day is the most Canadian holiday of all. Add to the British Commonwealth history and the love of beer, a stubborn dedication to spending the weekend outside at a time when black flies and mosquitos are at their worst – and you get a better picture of why Canada loves this holiday so much.
Canada’s 150th anniversary makes this year the best yet for celebrating one of our country’s favourite holidays. Here are five of the top ways Canadians typically spend the May 24 long weekend – are any of these on your list this Victoria Day?
Hit Canada’s National Parks – Camping trips are always popular on the Victoria Day long weekend, and since admission for all visitors to National Parks is free in 2017 as part of Canada’s 150 celebrations, camp sites across the country will be even more packed than usual this Victoria Day. The weather can be dicey, but dedicated campers know the first camping trip of the season is often the most fun and adventurous!
Light up the night – Fireworks are a traditional way for Canadians to celebrate the holiday. Whether it’s launching rockets in the front yard or watching more elaborate displays in city centres across the country, lighting up the May 24 skies will be even more prominent in 2017, thanks to 150 celebrations. So, pick up your sparklers and enjoy the weekend with a bang!
Barbeques, picnics and parties – Celebrating the first long weekend of the almost-summer season outdoors is a must for many Canadians, even if temperatures can sometimes be a bit cool. Families hold Victoria Day themed barbeques, picnics and parties, that usually involve fireworks – and maybe some beer too, of course!
Can you dig it? – Garden centres are the main attraction for many Canadian households on the May 24 weekend, which traditionally marks the beginning of the spring garden cleanup season. Pick up some garden tools, choose your favourite plants, roll up your sleeves and make your garden shine this year!
Road trip! – The icy cold Canadian winter finally starts to melt away for most of the country by the May long weekend, prompting many families to take to the road for a mini vacation. Having that extra day allows you to drive a little further than you normally would on a regular weekend to visit historic towns, lakeside cottages or cities that are three, four – even five hours away. So, pack your bags and take to the open road!