Who doesn’t love a long weekend? Especially with Valentine’s Day taking place on a Sunday this year, there is no doubt that romantic couples across some provinces in Canada are relishing the ability to sleep in today as Family Day is upon them. A statutory holiday in Alberta, Saskatchewan and most recently, Ontario, today commemorates a recognition of the importance of family.
According to Wikipedia.org, Family Day was first celebrated in 1990 in Alberta. Proposed by the province’s premier Don Getty, the holiday was originally met with criticism. Although Getty insisted that the day was to emphasize family values, some employers felt that the day would become a “fiscal burden”.
Saskatchewan did not begin observing Family Day until 2007. The province’s premier Lorne Calvert proposed for the day to be acknowledged as a statutory holiday but was met with business owners suggesting that it would cost them as much as $140 million a year. They requested tax breaks in an effort to soften the impact of lost sales due to another day with their doors being closed to the public.
Family Day was established as a statutory holiday in Ontario in 2008 so today, in fact, represents Ontario’s third ever observation of the holiday. Proposed by premier Dalton McGuinty, the creation of Family Day in Ontario raised the province’s number of public holidays to nine per year.
Residents in Manitoba are observing a holiday today as well. However, the day is known as Louis Riel Day, in honour of Louis Riel, the Métis leader who is recognized as having a major influence on the formation of Manitoba as a province. Like Ontario, the holiday was first observed in 2008.
It is Islander Day, today in Prince Edward Island. It began last year due to the “rising trend” of holidays celebrated in February throughout Canada. Originally held on the second Monday of February last year, many business owners were opposed to the idea of having a holiday that was out of sync with the rest of the provinces who would be taking a day off for Family Day one week later.
Says Wikipedia: “Provincial Attorney General Gerard Greenan introduced a change to mark the holiday on the third Monday in February in April of that year.”
Unfortunately for British Columbia, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and the territories, the third Monday in February is still a regular working day. Sorry guys.
Chances are, over the next few years, the entire nation will be celebrating a long weekend in unison. For those who are off work today, we hope that you will take this day to relax, reflect and rejuvenate, as it’s back to business tomorrow.