As the New Year’s Day ends, most workers are already thinking about the next holiday that would provide them with a day off. In some Canadian provinces, these employees do not have to wait for Good Friday; there is one special occasion in February on the way.
Specifically created in order to be a stop between the New Year’s and Easter, Family Day is a very young holiday which occurs only in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and British Columbia. Other provinces honor different themes, but they all were based on the concept of Family Day. In Manitoba, it is called Louis Riel Day, who is regarded the Father of Manitoba. In Yukon and Nova Scotia, citizens relate Family Day to their personal family tree and ancestry, renaming it Heritage Day. Prince Edward Island connects the idea of heritage to local patriotism, and celebrates Islander Day. Overall, two-thirds of entire Canada observe the February holiday. In all these provinces, the date is set to the third Monday, and in BC -- to the second Monday. Yukon celebrates Heritage Day on the Friday before last Sunday of the month.
The short history of Family Day begins in Alberta, which was the first province to raise the problem of no holiday in February in 1990. Proclaimed by Lieutenant Governor Helen Hunley, Family Day was degraded from a statutory holiday to a civic one due to the complaints of private employers, who felt that another paid day-off might produce too much loss. 2007 was the biggest year for Family Day. By the power of Royal Assent from December 6, 2006, the first celebration of the holiday in Saskatchewan was held on February 19, 2007. Here, Family Day replaced Easter Monday, so that the number of statutory holidays would stay the same. In 2007, the special day was also established in Manitoba and Ontario, but it took effect the next year. In British Columbia, 2007 was one of the periods in which the citizens called for establishing Family Day; here, however, the holiday was adopted only on October 3, 2011, and executed in February 2013. Prince Edward Island established its day in 2009, and Nova Scotia in 2015.
Family Day is a good occasion for winter sports. Warming foods and thick clothes are the defining items of that day. For many Canadians, the long weekend is a good opportunity to organize a short winter break - leave for a ski trip etc. In Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, all workers, students and federal offices have the day off.
Not all provinces recognize Family Day as statutory, though; in some places, the holiday might be exchanged with another optional one. In others, such as Quebec or New Brunswick, there is no holiday in February whatsoever. Being a fairly new tradition, Family Day has not yet developed many customs.