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It’s a long time from New Year’s to Easter. And, winters in Canada are cold.

So, back around 1990 a new holiday was added to break up the winter.  But it was not added in all places and it is not celebrated uniformly at the same time nor is it the same holiday everywhere.

This statutory holiday has its origins in 1990.

In Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, PEI and Saskatchewan it traditionally has been observed on the third Monday of February; in B.C. on the second Monday. In the Yukon the holiday is held on a Friday.

The second and third Mondays in February are regular working days in  Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the territories. As Family Day is not recognized in the federal sphere, federal employees in all provinces (such as public servants and postal workers) work on this day.

As Family Day, the holiday was first celebrated in 1990. Alberta was the only province in Canada to have a statutory holiday in February until Saskatchewan began observing it in 2007.

The holiday was proclaimed as  a day or all Albertans to take time for their families, and that this holiday would emphasize the importance of family values.

From there it expanded to Saskatchewan in 2007 and further thereafter.

In  Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the holiday is instead termed Louis Riel Day, Nova Scotia Heritage Day and Islander Day respectively. In Yukon it is called Yukon Heritage Day.

In all these places, it is a time that many look to family, traditions, heritage and community.

At the same time, in this era of cross-border communications and commerce, one cannot but wonder the role of merchants, business and travel interests in creating a sale and travel period weekend to match that of Presidents’ Day (Week) in the States.

No matter. So whatever you call the day, whenever you observe it, and hwever you do so, we wish you a good holiday.

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