This weekend, here in Canada, we are all enjoying a long weekend, but why exactly?
Canadians began celebrating Victoria Day back in 1834. Then Queen, Queen Victoria’s birthday, thirty three years before Canada was even formed as a country! Victoria Day is always the last Monday before the 24th of May and is a statutory holiday for all of Canada. It’s really supposed to represent the celebration of our reining sovereign’s birthday and not just Queen Victoria’s. I guess “Reigning Sovereign’s Birthday Day” was too awkward to say so they kept it as Victoria Day. Even Quebec takes the holiday, although they recently dedicated the same day as “National Patriots Day” and celebrate the holiday under that name as well. Gotta be different!
Many of us in Canada call it the “May Long” or “May two four” which really means we must remember to pick up the case of 24 beers for the weekend. I’ll get into some interesting facts about Queen Victoria in a minute but first what the holiday actually means to most of us here in Canada.
It is the first long weekend of many that fall when the weather is good…usually…we are talking about Canada after all. For those of us that garden it is the first weekend that you can safely plant without the fear of frost…usually…we are talking about Canada after all. It serves as an unofficial marker to the end of winter and thus the beginning of the summer social calendar. Places like Banff, Alberta’s Sunshine Village ends its lengthy ski season on Victoria Day. It is during this long weekend that many summer businesses – such as parks, outdoor restaurants, bicycle rentals, city tour operators, etc. – will open. Victoria Day is also a mark of the beginning of the cottage season. And for all of this I just want to say “YAY”!!!
Ok, back to Queen Victoria who started this whole thing. Here are a few interesting tidbits to impress your friends with while cracking into your two-four case.
Queen Victoria was of almost entirely German descent
She arranged marriages for her nine children and forty-two grandchildren across the continent, tying Europe together; this earned her the nickname “the grandmother of Europe
The Victorian era represented the height of the Industrial Revolution, a period of significant social, economic, and technological progress in the United Kingdom.
She married her first cousin, Prince Albert. MmmHmm.
There were 5 assassination attempts on her life, but one that shouldn’t really count because the guys gun was only loaded with paper and tobacco (what was he thinking)
After her husbands death she caused a stir by her close relationship with her manservant, John Brown. There are speculations that she even married him secretly. In 2008 it was discovered that her body wore John Browns mother’s wedding ring which was placed on Victoria’s finger after her death. MmmHmm.