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What Are Your Plans This Civic Holiday?


What Are Your Plans This Civic Holiday?

It is a holiday Monday for most Canadians today; and most Canadians don’t know why they are happy just to have a day off work. The origins of the holiday on the first Monday in August seem to stem back to a “day of recreation” first organized by Toronto City Council in 1869.

Technically it is a “Civic” holiday and the celebration or reason for the holiday depends on where you live. For instance in Ontario, a range of local names are used, which often honour significant people in the history of the province.

In Toronto, the first Monday in August is known as Simcoe Day after John Graves Simcoe, who founded the town of York, Upper Canada, which became Toronto. He was also the first lieutenant governor of the province and the promulgator of the Act Against Slavery; the Scotiabank Caribbean Cultural Festival, formerly known as Caribana, is held this holiday weekend in Toronto coinciding with Emancipation Day

In Ottawa, it is called Colonel By Day in honor of John By, who led the construction of the Rideau Canal, or Waterway, and founded Bytown, which became the city of Ottawa.

The Civic Holiday may also be known by one of a number of local appellations such as Mountie Day in North York, George Hamilton Day in Hamilton, Joseph Brant Day in Burlington, Founders’ Day in Brantford, McLaughlin Day in Oshawa, Alexander Mackenzie Day in Sarnia, James Cockburn Day in Cobourg, Peter Robinson Day in Peterborough, and John Galt Day in Guelph, as well as numerous other names in smaller municipalities.

Although a work holiday is given to employees of the federal and many municipal governments, the provincial government has not defined this day as a statutory holiday and it is not mentioned in either Ontario’s Employment Standards Act or Retail Business Holidays Act.

Needless to say it is just nice to have a day off in August to enjoy the summer.

So what are your plans this civic holiday?

Please read our responses or submit your own comments.

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.