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Celebrating the birthday of the British sovereign, Victoria Day offers Canadians a chance to commemorate the birth of Queen Victoria who reigned as the British monarch for an impressive 63 years! 

History of Victoria Day

For more than 150 years, since 1845, the birthday of Queen Victoria has been considered a national holiday in the country of Canada. Victoria reigned as the British sovereign from 1837 to 1901, which means she was the queen at the important time when the Dominion of Canada became its own nation in 1867.

After the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, Canadian Parliament established Victoria Day as a legal holiday throughout the country.

While Queen Victoria’s actual birthday was on May 24,1819, the decision was made in 1952 to always celebrate the holiday on a Monday, whichever one falls before May 25. This allows Canadians to attach their holiday to the weekend to take full advantage of the opportunity to travel or visit with family.

The sovereign leaders who followed Queen Victoria had different traditions for this celebration. The birthday of Victoria’s son, Edward VII, was also celebrated on Victoria Day, but the next three kings (George V, Edward VIII, and George VI) were not.

When Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1952, her first birthday as queen and every subsequent one until her death in 2022, was celebrated on Victoria Day. This nod to her great-great grandmother became the tradition, even though Elizabeth’s actual birthday was on April 21.

Victoria Day offers Canadians and others around the world the opportunity to show respect for and honor to the British monarch who wears the crown!

How to Celebrate Victoria Day

It’s fun to celebrate and enjoy Victoria Day, this important Canadian national holiday, in a variety of ways, including some of these:

Attend a Victoria Day Event

Those who are living in Canada or other places that honor this day can celebrate Victoria Day by participating in community activities. This might include attending parades, family festivities, fireworks, and more. Many times, Victoria Day festivities will be broadcast on television so that people at home can still enjoy watching the festivities.

Celebrate at Home

Families who want to celebrate Victoria Day at home might choose to host an event with friends and neighbors in attendance. Decorate with Canadian and British flags to show respect for the two countries. Host a barbecue with food and perhaps a campfire for roasting marshmallows. Light some sparklers in the evening as the sun begins to go down.

Watch a Film or Show About Queen Victoria

In celebration of Victoria Day, check out one of these movies or shows that are based on the life and reign of the queen:

  • Victoria the Great (1937) This biographical film focuses on Victoria’s early reign and marriage to Prince Albert.
  • The Young Victoria (2009). Starring Emily Blunt, this film also features Victoria and Albert’s early years.
  • Victoria & Abdul (2017). Dame Judi Dench tells of a real-life relationship between Victoria and her Indian Muslim servant in her later years.

Featured Image: "Queen Victoria" by Franz Xaver Winterhalter is licensed under CC0 1.0 - cropped from original.

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