Is Family Day a Public Holiday?
Family Day is a public holiday in five provinces of Canada, according to Holidays 2025. The celebration falls on the third Monday of February month. All businesses, retail stores, and shops, as well as the schools, and universities remain closed on this day. Public Transportations also do not follow their usual route. However, offices of the federal government continue to open on this day.
Family Day Holiday History in Canada
Family Day history holds relevant significance and commemorates the beginning of its observance. Family Day in Canada is a part of a week-long celebration, known as the Heritage Week. Citizens of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and New Brunswick spend the entire weekend celebrating with their family. They would go out and make merry, partaking in winter sports, or visit their relatives to connect with them.
This holiday falls on the third Monday of February month. It is celebrated in all these provinces, as well as others where the day is known by different names. However, until 2018, British Columbia observed this holiday on the second Monday instead. This was later changed to collaborate with the commemoration throughout the country and to avoid hindrances in trade.
The holiday began in the province of Alberta, when its then Lieutenant Governor, Helen Hunley passed the decree. Her premier, Don Getty was the one to advise her on the same, and many believe that this was done because Getty’s son was convicted in certain drug charges. The former premier has declined such claims through the years. However, critics claim that Getty felt people were moving away from their family values, like his son, and was looking for a way to bring them back together.
As stated earlier, Family Day in Canada is a statutory holiday, and thus public servants do not necessarily get this day off. Neither do the provinces and territories of the country that do not celebrate this day. As a result, there is unrest and criticism in many places concerning the holiday. Where employers believe this to be an unnecessary and additional burden, employees feel that there is inequality in marking the day off. Despite that, the holiday is still a big hit in places that do observe it.
Public Life on Family Day in Canada
Family Day in Canada is about connecting with one’s family, learning and establishing our traditions and values. Citizens of the five provinces where this celebration is called Family Day would get together on the long weekend, plan activities together, visit relatives far from them, or go on a trip together. This long weekend in February is like a short winter break for many families.
Family Day in Canada falls on the same day as National Heritage day, in the latter four provinces, i.e., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and New Brunswick. As a result, people of these regions spend the day learning more about their heritage and ancestry, their family history. They celebrate through both indoor and outdoor activities. Going ice skating, snowboarding, visiting art galleries, breweries, etc., as well as playing board games are various ways through which citizens connect with their family members.
Things To Do On Family Day in Canada
If you are in the country during February and are looking for things to do on Family Day 2025 in Canada, then here is a list of fun activities that will bring your household closer in the winter wonderland:
1. Family Fishing
Go fishing in Alberta, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan during the Family Day long weekend even if you don’t have a license. Sit on the calm banks of the river, and make merry with your family, while waiting for the perfect catch.
Ski ranges are commonplace in the snowy terrain of Canada, and the long weekend of February offers families an excellent opportunity to go out and enjoy the winter sport together. If you are looking for some recreational activities and fun things to do on Family Day in Canada, then almost every province has numerous clubs for skiing.
These include the beautiful Killarney Trails, as well as those in Centennial Park, Quispamsis, Sandbanks Provincial Parks, Prince Albert National Park, etc. There are also skiing ranges in Wascana Centre, Thanksgiving Ranch, Halfpipe Rodeo World Cup, Grouse Mountain, and more. Come for skiing, stay for meals and competitions.
3. Local Market
As the malls and stores remain closed on the long weekend, local markets crop up instead. Instead of wondering what to do on Family Day in Canada, step out and peruse through the stunning merchandise and produce being offered at a bargain. Farmers markets, children’s markets and more are set up indoors and outdoors and can be a great place to spend your day and money.
The Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market, Marche Moncton Market, Rhoda’s Flea Market, Cedarcrest Gardens Winter Market, Mizener’s Antiques & More Market, Febfest at Foothills Centennial Centre etc. are some places to be.
The winter wonderland that is Canada hosts innumerable Winterfests since the onset of winter. From Christmas to New Year, any excuse to set up this magical festival is grabbed. The Family Day weekend is another such reason. You can go to the Fundy Winterfest or the one in Quispamsis, or have some fun at KidsfestTO.
Other such Winter Festivals throughout the country are the Evergreen Winterfest, Hamilton Winterfest, Cochrane Winter Carnival, WinterRouge, DUKE on Ice, and so much more. There are also Winterfest at Wakamow Valley, Burnaby, Prince Albert, Warman, and Weyburn, Heartland Forest WinterFest Family Day or Kona, the Wanuskewin Winter Festival.
Family Day in Canada is also a day to celebrate one’s culture and ancestry. To help people connect better with their family history, traditions, and customs, many places in Canada set up heritage shows. If you are still looking for things to do on Family Day 2025, then go out and visit some of these. You can go to the Heritage Fair in London or the New Brunswick Heritage Week.
There are also events like Family Day at the NB Museum, Bring on the Sunshine Festival, Ceili - Irish folk dance, Aboriginal Storytelling with an Elder, RCMP Heritage Centre, and Family Day at Fort Langley.
Family Day Observances
|2019||Mon||18 February||Family Day||Common Local Holiday|
|2020||Mon||17 February||Family Day||Common Local Holiday|
|2021||Mon||15 February||Family Day||Common Local Holiday|
|2022||Mon||21 February||Family Day||Common Local Holiday|
|2023||Mon||20 February||Family Day||Common Local Holiday|
|2024||Mon||19 February||Family Day||Common Local Holiday|
|2025||Mon||17 February||Family Day||Common Local Holiday|
1. What can you do on Family Day in Canada?
On Family Day in Canada you can do various activities together with the members of your household. These include cooking, movie marathons, family sports, family pictures and portraits, picnics, and so on.
2. What is open or closed on Family Day in Canada?
Where Family Day in Canada is a statutory holiday, some pharmacies, general stores, eateries, etc. stay open for the general public. Additionally, the places where families can go to celebrate the day, like skiing ranges and such are also functional.
3. How do other provinces celebrate Family Day in Canada?
The third Monday of February, which is celebrated as Family day in five provinces of Canada, is known as Islander Day in Prince Edward Island. It is called Louis Riel Day in Manitoba, Nova Scotia Heritage Day in Nova Scotia, and Yukon Heritage Day in Yukon.
Tl;dr For those who only wish to know When is Family Day in 2025? The date is 17 February, Monday.
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