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Discovery Day in Canada

Quick Facts

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Discovery Day commemorates John Cabot’s arrival at the province on June 24, 1497.

Local names

NameLanguage
Discovery DayEnglish
Journée Découverte/Jean CabotFrench
Discovery DayGerman

Discovery Day 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Discovery Day 2015

Monday, June 22, 2015
List of dates for other years

Discovery Day is celebrated in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador on the nearest Monday to June 24. It is also known as Cabot 500 Day and remembers Giovanni Caboto’s (also known as John Cabot) discovery of the province’s island portion. This day is not to be confused with Yukon’s Discovery Day, which is also known as Klondike Gold Discovery Day.

A quiet out-of-town spot in Newfoundland for holidays like Discovery Day.

©iStockphoto.com/brytta

What do people do?

Newfoundland and Labrador celebrates its Discovery Day on the Monday closest to June 24. Many communities choose to hold their own celebrations but it is in Bonavista where many events take place. Some people may visit the Matthew legacy site during this period. Other attractions at the day’s celebrations in Bonavista in recent times included the “Kids Walking Parade”, talent shows, and a motorcade involving more than 100 cars.

The city of St John’s in the province celebrates its birthday, known as St John’s Days around this time of the year. Celebratory events include outdoor concerts, historical characters, and various art and cultural activities. Various sources have claimed that St John’s is the oldest English-founded city in North America.

Public life

Discovery Day is a paid holiday for government employees in Newfoundland and Labrador. School calendars in the province are set by individual school districts so those wishing to find out if Discovery Day is a school holiday should check with these districts.

People driving to major events on Discovery Day may need to plan early to avoid traffic. Those who are uncertain about the transport schedule on Discovery Day can to contact local transport services prior to travelling.

Background

Discovery Day in Newfoundland and Labrador commemorates Giovanni Caboto’s (also known as John Cabot) discovery of the province’s island portion in 1497. It has been celebrated since 1997 – the 500th anniversary of the discovery. Cabot left Europe on May 20, 1497, aboard his vessel, the Matthew. It was a small ship, but reportedly fast and able. The crew consisted of 18 people. He reported landed near present-day Bonavista on June 24, 1497, and departed on or around July 20 that year.

Symbols

The Matthew legacy site is a tourist attraction in Bonavista, in Newfoundland and Labrador. John Cabot sailed on the vessel, which was named after his wife Mattea, when he reached Canada in 1497. A replica was built in Bristol, in the United Kingdom, in 1996 before sailing, repeating Cabot’s original journey, to Bonavista in 1997. It carried the same number of crew members as the original and took the same amount of time to complete the journey.  This replica has since returned to Bristol.

Discovery Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is a statutory holiday
MonJun 231997Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 221998Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 211999Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 262000Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 252001Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 242002Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 232003Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 212004Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 272005Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 262006Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 252007Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 232008Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 222009Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 212010Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 272011Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 252012Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 242013Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 232014Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 222015Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 272016Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 262017Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 252018Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 242019Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonJun 222020Discovery DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador

Related holiday

Other holidays in June 2014 in Canada

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