British Columbia observes first Family Day

Province takes its February long weekend a week earlier than other jurisdictions

British Columbians are preparing for their first February long weekend as the province becomes the latest Canadian jurisdiction to recognize a Family Day statutory holiday this weekend.

The new holiday was announced in May 2012, following an online poll of B.C. residents asking which Monday in February would be preferred. The plan was originally to declare the third Monday in February as the holiday — the same as other provinces who have adopted it — but there were thoughts that B.C.’s should be on a different weekend so popular holiday locations such as ski resorts would be less crowded. The second Monday of the month won out, leading to B.C.’s first Family Day falling on Feb. 11 this year, while the holiday falls on Feb. 18 in other jurisdictions.

B.C. joins five other provinces to have a provincial holiday in February — Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Prince Edward Island. Manitoba’s holiday is called Louis Riel Day and P.E.I. calls its day off Islander Day. The others share the Family Day designation. Alberta was the first province to declare a February holiday, observing its first Family Day in 1990.

B.C. now has five national and four provincial holidays, plus a civic holiday in August.

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