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Discovery Day in Canada

Quick Facts

Discovery Day is a public holiday in the Canadian territory of Yukon on the third Monday of August. It commemorates the anniversary of the discovery of gold in Bonanza Creek in the 19th century.

Local names

NameLanguage
Discovery DayEnglish
Jour de la DécouverteFrench
Discovery DayGerman

Alternative name

Klondike Gold Discovery Day

Discovery Day 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Discovery Day 2015

Monday, August 17, 2015
List of dates for other years

Yukon’s Discovery Day is celebrated in territory of Yukon, Canada, on the third Monday of August. Also Klondike Gold Discovery Day, it commemorates the anniversary of the discovery of gold in Yukon. It differs from Newfoundland and Labrador’s Discovery Day, also known as Cabot 500 Day.

Discovery Day Canada

Discovery Day is a statutory holiday in Yukon, where the Klondike gold rush took place.

©iStockphoto.com/Natalia Bratslavsky

What do people do?

Unlike many other parts of Canada where people celebrate a civic holiday on the first Monday of August, Yukon celebrates its holiday, Discovery Day, on the third Monday of August. Discovery Day activities are held throughout the territory in places such as Watson Lake, which is known as the “gateway to Yukon recreation”, and Whitehorse, which is Yukon’s capital.

Discovery Day is celebrated in Dawson City, the heart of the Klondike gold rush, every year to recognize the discovery of gold in Bonanza Creek in 1896. Discovery Day is the main theme behind various events in the city at this time. These events include family days, fun runs, golf tournaments, and festivals. Discovery Day is also a time for people visiting Dawson City to watch a historical street theatre, and photograph Mounties (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) in their uniform.

Public life

Discovery Day is a statutory holiday in Yukon so many government offices and schools are closed. Post offices in Yukon are closed so there is no regular collection or delivery of mail. However, private sector postal and delivery businesses may be open.

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

The history of Yukon’s Discovery Day can be traced back to when George Washington Carmack discovered gold at Bonanza Creek, Yukon, on August 17, 1896. His discovery triggered a gold rush involving many miners and traders in North America. More than 30,000 people poured into the Klondike region over the next couple of years, sparking the formation of Dawson and the construction of the Yukon narrow-gage railway. But the Klondike boom was short-lived and many miners were replaced by companies using mechanical mining techniques early in the 20th century.

After the gold rush, the Yukon Order of Pioneers persuaded Yukon’s Territorial Council to celebrate Discovery Day as a public holiday in 1911. In the following year, the holiday was a big event celebrated with a parade, speeches, a sports day, balloons, refreshments, a football match and a dance, among other activities.

o this day, mining is still an important industry in Yukon and Discovery Day is celebrated across the territory. This gold discovery also contributed towards the establishment of Yukon as a territory. Discovery Day in Yukon is not to be confused with Discovery Day in Newfoundland and Labrador on the Monday nearest June 24 each year.

Symbols

The Yukon flag, which may be seen on Discovery Day, was adopted by the Territorial Council in 1967. The flag is made up of three vertical panels. The green panel on the staff side symbolizes the forests and the white in the centre represents the snow, while the deep blue on the fly side represents the Yukon’s rivers and lakes. The centre panel features the territorial coat of arms and floral emblem, the fireweed. Other territorial symbols: the fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) as the floral emblem; the Subalpine Fir (tree); the raven (bird); lazulite (gemstone); and the Francophone community in the Yukon flag.

Discovery Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is a statutory holiday
MonAug 201990Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 191991Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 171992Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 161993Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 151994Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 211995Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 191996Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 181997Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 171998Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 161999Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 212000Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 202001Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 192002Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 182003Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 162004Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 152005Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 212006Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 202007Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 182008Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 172009Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 162010Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 152011Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 202012Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 192013Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 182014Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 172015Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 152016Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 212017Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 202018Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 192019Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory
MonAug 172020Discovery DayLocal holidayYukon Territory

Related holidays

Other holidays in August 2014 in Canada

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