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Boxing Day in Canada

Quick Facts

The day after Christmas Day is known as Boxing Day and is a holiday in many parts of Canada.

Local names

NameLanguage
Boxing DayEnglish
le lendemain de NoëlFrench
2. Weihnachtsfeiertag/StephanstagGerman

Alternative name

2nd day of Christmas

Boxing Day 2014

Friday, December 26, 2014

Boxing Day 2015

Saturday, December 26, 2015
List of dates for other years

Boxing Day is a holiday for many Canadians on December 26. It gives people the chance to take part in the post-Christmas sales or watch ice hockey games.

Boxing Day Canada

Many sporting events, such as ice hockey tournaments, are held on Boxing Day.

©iStockphoto.com/dave Skinner

What do people do?

Many people in Canada have a day off work and many of them visit stores that start their annual sales on Boxing Day. Some shoppers even start waiting outside stores in the small hours of the morning and many stores open earlier than usual. Now, the sales often last for a whole week between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve and are known as the "Boxing Week Sales" instead of the "Boxing Day Sales". In some areas, particularly in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario, stores are not open on Boxing Day and the post-Christmas sales start on December 27.

A number of important sporting events are held on Boxing Day and watching them on television is a popular activity. The International Ice Hockey Federation world junior hockey championships often start on December 26. The Canadian National team often does well in this event. The Spengler Cup ice hockey tournament, which is played in Davos, Switzerland, is also shown on major sports television channels. The Canada national men's team has performed well in this event in recent years.

Public life

Boxing Day is a federal holiday and is listed in the Canadian Labour Code as a holiday. However, it is not uniformly observed in all provinces and territories. It is not an official holiday in Quebec, nor is it a statutory holiday in Alberta and British Columbia. In Saskatchewan, the day is a public holiday for government and public services. In practice, many organizations and businesses are closed, although stores are often open.

In some communities, particularly in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, stores are not open. Post offices across the country are closed. As Boxing Day falls in the Christmas holiday period, schools are closed. Public transport services may run a normal or reduced service, or provide no service.When Boxing Day falls on a Sunday or Saturday that is a non-working day, workers are entitled to a holiday with pay on the working day immediately preceding or following the general holiday.

Background

Boxing Day is a holiday in the United Kingdom and many countries (including Canada) that were once part of the British Empire. The origin of this holiday's name is not clear. In feudal times in the United Kingdom, the lord of the manor would 'pay' people who worked on his land in the past year with boxes practical goods, such as agricultural tools, food and cloth. These were often distributed on the day after Christmas Day. More recently, employers traditionally gave their servants a gift of money or food in a small box on the day after Christmas Day. Some people in Canada still give gifts to people who provide them with services.

Other stories relate to servants being allowed to take a portion of the food left over from the Christmas celebrations in a box to their families and the distribution of alms from the church collection boxes to poor parishioners. These traditions evolved into the Christmas baskets that some employers distribute to their employees during the holiday season at the end of the year.

Boxing Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is a statutory holiday
WedDec 261990Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
ThuDec 261991Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
SatDec 261992Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
SunDec 261993Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
MonDec 261994Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
TueDec 261995Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
ThuDec 261996Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
FriDec 261997Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
SatDec 261998Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
SunDec 261999Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
TueDec 262000Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
WedDec 262001Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
ThuDec 262002Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
FriDec 262003Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
SunDec 262004Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
MonDec 262005Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
TueDec 262006Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
WedDec 262007Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
FriDec 262008Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
SatDec 262009Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
SunDec 262010Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
MonDec 262011Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
WedDec 262012Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
ThuDec 262013Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
FriDec 262014Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
SatDec 262015Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
MonDec 262016Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
TueDec 262017Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
WedDec 262018Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
ThuDec 262019Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT
SatDec 262020Boxing DayNational holidayMB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, YT

Related holidays

Other holidays in December 2014 in Canada

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