The second Monday in February in B.C.–the third Monday in Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan—the wonderful tradition of Family Day comes around. Family Day is observed to celebrate “the importance of families and family life to people and their communities.”
Family Day was first held in Alberta, in 1990, followed by Saskatchewan, and then Ontario. In British Columbia, it became a statuary holiday for the first time in 2013. That said, it is not a national statuary holiday; all federal workers (including postal workers) have to work that day. This fact has caused no small amount of discontent and debate over the years. Secondary to celebrating the joy of one’s family, respective provincial governments also recognized the need to address the ‘drought’ between holidays, from New Year’s Day to Easter weekend.
Beginning in 2009, Prince Edward Island began to celebrate Islander Day on the second Monday in February, and on the third Monday in February, Manitoba celebrates Louis Riel Day.
So what do people do—what do you do, if you have the day off—on Family Day?
Most people involve themselves in activities with the whole family. There are no ‘rules’ here: people have family outings, dinners, go skating, take part in crafting, or even go to a movie together. Communities and special venues—such as art galleries or museums—often offer something special for families, whether a planned event, or reduced admission prices. Because Family Day falls on National Heritage Day (except in B.C.), many people take the opportunity to dig into their family history. If you want to get out, or get away, there’s no shortage of excursions and special deals that go with them. In Ontario, and this is probably true for other provinces, some inns and spas offer weekend getaways at discounted prices, beginning on the Friday. Being as its February, in Canada, there’s no surprise about some of the goodies served up: hot chocolate and baked goods are always popular.
Expect schools to be closed on Family Day, and that public transportation may be running on a reduced schedule. Many—but not all—workplaces will be closed for the day. The most important thing to expect, though, is that you’ll have a golden opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones.