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Canadian Holidays

The work week in Ontario typically runs from Monday to Friday, with Saturday and Sunday being the official weekend. Schools and most government offices and banks are closed on the weekend, but many stores and businesses are open.

Canadians celebrate a number of public holidays, and other important events and occasions throughout the year. In Canada, schools, most government departments and many businesses are closed on public holidays and most workers take the day off with pay.

In Kingston, public transportation does not run on Christmas (December 25), New Year's Day (January 1), and Good Friday (Easter, the date changes from year to year). On other public holidays, public transportation runs on a reduced Sunday schedule.

Some Canadian holidays — such as Easter, Christmas and New Year's Day — are celebrated in many other countries around the world. Other public holidays are uniquely Canadian, or are occasions and anniversaries celebrated only in that particular province or territory.

Details on the national and provincial holidays are provided in the For More Information links at the bottom of the page. Here are some of the other special days, occasions and events celebrated in Ontario:

Valentine's Day, February 14: Celebrated with gifts of candy, flowers or cards expressing affection and appreciation for others.

Flag Day, February 15: A day commemorating the first time the maple leaf flag was raised over Parliament Hill.

Family Day: Provincial holiday, celebrated on the third Monday of February. Was previously called Heritage Day.

St. Patrick Day, March 17: Celebrated in honour of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

Earth Day, April 22: A day observed with events and projects that draw attention to environmental issues.

Workers Mourning Day, April 28: A day honouring workers killed or injured in the workplace.

Mother's Day: Held the second Sunday in May, this is a day to show appreciation for mothers.

Father's Day : Held the third Sunday in June, this is a day to honour fathers.

Canada Day, July 1: National holiday celebrating Canada's birthday!

Civic Holiday: Provincial holiday, held on the first Monday in August.

Labour Day: National holiday, held on the first Monday in September, this day marks the official end of summer.

Halloween, October 31: A day where children dress up in costumes and go door to door "trick or treating" for small treats.

Remembrance Day, November 11: A national occasion honouring Canadians who died in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War. Cities and towns have events and services to mark the occasion.

Commemorative Dates

 In addition to statutory and traditional holidays, Canadians observe many commemorative dates set aside for celebration of persons and culture and to raise awareness of issues and topics important to Canadians. Examples include:

April 22: Earth Day

September (last weekend of): Culture Days

October: Islamic History Month

October 1: National Seniors Day

October 17–23: Waste Diversion Week in Ontario

Sometimes municipal, provincial or federal leaders will choose to honour these dates with official recognition. When this happens special events and ceremonies are held or campaigns initiated by other local groups. Check with the City and community organizations, including local ethnocultural groups, to see what might be happening locally in observation of these dates. 

See also the Community Calendars and the Community Events & Festivals pages of the site.


For More Information

Public Holidays — Ontario Ministry of Labour
Information for workers and employers about paid and unpaid public holidays in Ontario. Includes a list of the 9 official public holidays in Ontario, information on who may be required to work, how holiday pay is calculated — with an online holiday pay calculator, and other useful information. The full guide to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 is also available online or for download in PDF format.

Ontario Traditions and Customs
Descriptions and explanations of Canadian holidays and customs.

Culture Days
A Canada-wide movement to raise awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities. Events and activities take place annually over the last week of September. Find out what will be happening in Kingston!

Cycling Week
An annual event to encourage and promote cycling as a viable and environmentally friendly transportation option for commuting within Kingston. Featuring the famous “roll-in breakfasts,” events highlighting the joys and health benefits of cycling occur throughout the week and wrap up with closing ceremonies.

PA Days & Holiday Activities
The City offers a variety of activities at its facilities to keep children and youth busy on PA days or holidays when they are not in school.

Important Days — Canadian Heritage
List of important dates that commemorate major events and celebrations in Canadian history and that generally correspond to Canadian holidays or special festivals. Provides detailed information on Sir John A. MacDonald Day, Victoria Day, and Canada Day, among others; as well as Celebrate Canada and Canada History weeks.

Calendar of Events — Canadian Heritage
List of events and celebrations as endorsed by the federal government. The events listed have a wide focus: some are specifically Canadian, while others are international events that are also celebrated in Canada. Includes links to additional information on most events.

Public Holidays — Government of Canada
A list of the official federal holidays and their corresponding dates. Government offices (at all levels) and often businesses are also closed on these dates. These apply to all provinces and territories unless otherwise noted.

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