News report | | 28/04/2021 | ±6 minutes reading time

Canada has numerous public holidays on which Canadians have the day off. On these days, travellers in Canada may experience inconveniences during their travels as shops are generally closed. Unlike some other destinations, the travel authorization for Canada, the eTA Canada, can be applied for and approved at any time, even on public holidays.

Public holidays in Canada

When a day is a public or official holiday, it means that the workers of that country, in most cases, have the day off. Businesses and shops are often closed on these days. Many public holidays in Canada do not take place on a fixed date, but on the Monday of a fixed week. This way, Canadians have a long weekend and can spend several days with their families. On these holidays, as well as on the weekends preceding them, the roads are busier and excursions, tours and cruises are booked up faster. This is the case, for example, on the following holidays:

Victoria Day: This holiday has been designated in honour of the British Queen Victoria. Canada is the only country that does not celebrate the birthday of the current king or queen, but that of a queen from the 1830s. During her reign, Queen Victoria shaped Canadian culture and was part of key events in Canadian history. The only thing that is fixed nationally with regard to the date is that it must be celebrated on a Monday. Which Monday it takes place on varies from region to region. During Victoria Day there are parades, concerts and horse shows.

Labour Day: As in the United States of America, Labour Day in Canada takes place on the first Monday of September. Everyone in Canada is off on Labour Day, unlike other public holidays in Canada, such as Civic Holiday, on which residents of Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have to work while residents of the other states do not.

In addition to New Year’s Day (1 January), the dates of the following public holidays are also fixed:

Remembrance Day: On November 11, the victims of World War I are commemorated in a ceremony that includes two minutes of silence at 11:00 a.m.

Canada Day: Canada Day (also known as Dominion Day until 1982), is Canada’s bank holiday. It takes place on 1 July each year and celebrates the independence gained in 1867.

If you want to experience one of these holidays yourself, it is best to apply for your eTA and book your flight in time.

Regional holidays in Canadaa

Due to the country’s massive size, there are also many regional holidays in Canada:

Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving is a bank holiday in Canada and is a day off in most regions. Thanksgiving is not officially designated as a public holiday in the states of Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, although it is often celebrated. Unlike in the United States, where Thanksgiving takes place on the last Thursday in November, in Canada Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October.

Civic Holiday: Civic Holiday is the name given in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories to the legal holiday celebrated in most of Canada on the first Monday of August. Civic Holiday is not a public holiday in the states of Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Orangemen’s Day: Orangemen’s Day is considered a public holiday only in the states of Newfoundland and Labrador. It takes place on the Monday closest to 12 July, the day of the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland in 1690. This battle is commemorated on this day of remembrance.

Discovery Day: Discovery Day is a public holiday celebrated in Yukon on the third Monday in August. It commemorates the discovery of gold in the Yukon and should not be confused with Newfoundland and Labrador’s Discovery Day, which occurs on the Monday closest to 24 June. Also known as June Day or Cabot 500 Day, this day in both states celebrates the discovery of Newfoundland by John Cabot in 1497.

National Patriots’ Day: National Patriots’ Day was introduced to underline the importance of the struggle of the Patriots, who in the years 1837-1838 won national recognition from the people, political freedoms and a democratic system of government. This holiday is marked on the agenda of every Quebec resident on the Monday preceding May 25.

St. Jean Baptiste Day: St. Jean Baptiste Day is a holiday of French origin celebrated in the former French colony of Quebec. The holiday takes place annually on 24 June. The birth of St. Jean Baptiste is celebrated during this time.

Louis Riel Day: On the third Monday in February, the people of the state of Manitoba gather to celebrate Louis Riel Day. The holiday is dedicated to the life of Louis David Riel, Canadian politician, leader of the Métis people and also founder of the State of Manitoba.

Islander Day: Also on the third Monday in February, Prince Edward Islander Day is observed by the residents of Prince Edward Island. Islander Day was only recently introduced to give the residents of the state an extra day off.

Public holidays linked to Christian tradition

Since a large part of the population in Canada is Christian, many Christian holidays are celebrated, such as Good Friday, Easter Monday and Christmas (25 and 26 December). Christmas in Canada is split into Christmas Day (25 December) and Boxing Day (26 December). On Boxing Day, it is traditional to give away a box of food and sometimes clothing to people in the community who need it. Easter Sunday and Whit Monday are less well known and only celebrated in certain regions.

Apply for your eTA in time

Canada has many different public holidays, not all of which are celebrated in all of Canada. You should therefore check which holidays are celebrated in the states you intend to visit. Perhaps you would like to experience one of these Canadian holidays yourself, or you would prefer to visit the states of Canada at a different time. Fortunately, the holidays do not affect the processing time of the eTA Canada application that you need to fly to Canada without a visa.

You can apply for an eTA even if you do not have any concrete plans yet. Once approved, the eTA is valid for five years. However, this does not mean that you can stay in Canada for five consecutive years. The maximum stay per trip is six months. You can, however, travel to Canada as often as you wish within the five-year period. You can only apply for an eTA Canada if you meet the requirements of the eTA Canada. If that is not the case, there is often the possibility to apply for a Canada visa.