Holidays in Canada

This lesson is all about Canadian Holidays. In this post, you will learn all the vocabulary used for holidays in Canada as well as the cultural customs of each holiday.

There are many special days in Canada. Some are religious, some are political, and some are for spending time with family and friends. In Canada family and friends are important, our holidays usually are spent with family and friends.

In Canada, we have holidays where everyone has the day off of work. These are called statutory or stat holidays. These are days that are mandatory holidays. If you must work you usually will be paid 2 or 3 times more than your usual wage.

New Years

January 1st is New Year’s Day. December 31st is not a stat holiday, but many Canadians use their holidays for this day.

Vocabulary “their holidays”– Canadian law requires that each worker has a minimum of 10 days off paid a year.

New Year’s Eve is celebrated with family and friends. There are lots of activities available. In Ottawa, Canada’s capital, you can go to parliament hill for a live music and ice skating. New Year’s Day is usually spent recovering from the previous night’s events. Canadians like to spend New Year’s Day with their families. They will often organize a get-together and have dinner.

Phrasal verbs:

To spend time- to dedicate time to an activity.

Get together- social gathering with friends

Family Day

Family Day is celebrated on the second or third monday in February. Family Day is a day for families to spend time together.


Many Christians around the world celebrate Easter. In Canada, there are also secular Easter traditions. The Easter Bunny visits the home of Canadian children and leaves chocolate eggs around the house for them to find in the morning.


Secular: non-religious

Victoria Day

The is a long weekend in May to celebrate the birthday of Queen Elizabeth. Canada is part of the Commonwealth, so we celebrate the Queen’s Birthday like many other Commonwealth countries.


Long weekend: A weekend with an extra day, three days instead of 2.

Canada Day

Canada Day is July 1st. This day is a day off work even if it falls in the middle of the week. Canada Day is a lot of fun. Canadians usually dress up in white and red (Canada’s national colours). In 2017 Canada turned 150 years old. There were celebrations across Canada to celebrate.

Phrasal verbs

Falls on- This day is a day off work even if it falls in the middle of the week. To fall on (day) is to be on.
Dress up- to wear something special for an occasion.

August Civic Holiday

This holiday is not a statutory holiday, but many employers give their employees the day off. This holiday is the first Monday in August. It is to give people one last long weekend to enjoy summer activities like going to a cottage, camping, or swimming.

Labour Day

Notice the Canadian spelling. In US English this is spelt Labor. In Canadian English, we add a U to a lot of words. Favourite. Favour. Catalogue. Honour. Colour. Mould. Neighbour. Behaviour.

Labour Day is a sad day for Canadian children because it means the end of summer.


Yes, we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada too. It is on a different day than the American Thanksgiving. We celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. It is a holiday to give thanks and celebrate autumn and the harvest. Usually, Canadians have a big dinner with family on Thanksgiving. Some traditional foods are turkey, stuffing, brussel sprouts, and cranberry sauce.


Christmas Day is an important holiday in Canada too. All Canadians have this day off work even if they don’t celebrate Christmas.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is the day after Christmas. In recent years it has become a day more for shopping than anything else. Most stores have huge sales on Boxing Day and many people wait in line to get the best deals.

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