What is Family Day?

If you have friends that attend school in New Brunswick, Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, or British Columbia, you may have noticed they had school off this Monday (Feb 18th), while we McGillians did not. In the previously mentioned provinces, Family Day is celebrated on every third Monday of February.

Celebrated first in 1990, Family Day is actually a relatively new holiday. It began in Alberta, where it was the only province to observe the holiday for 17 years until 2007 when Saskatchewan celebrated it for the first time. Ontario, BC, New Brunswick, and the rest followed soon after.

Since it’s only celebrated in select provinces, Family Day is not considered a federally established holiday, and thus, public servants and post office employees still have to work. This brings about some controversy since Family Day, hence the name, is meant to allow students and employees to spend time with families (I mean I’m pretty annoyed too that my friends at UToronto and UBC are just chilling while I’m in class). From what I’ve gathered, however, there’s really no point to this holiday besides the fact that Canadians wanted a public holiday between New Year’s and Good Friday. Most people take the day to go to museum, go skiing, go skating, etc. with their parents and kids. As a new holiday, there aren’t any established traditions associated with it yet and many are still unsure what the point of the day is.

Honestly, l wouldn’t complain about another day off though. We work hard here at McGill and deserve a break, even if it’s just a day. Who knows, maybe Quebec will adopt the holiday sometime soon.


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