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Louis Riel Day in Canada

Quick Facts

Louis Riel Day celebrates the achievements and life of Louis Riel, a Canadian politician who was a leader of the Métis people.

Local names

NameLanguage
Louis Riel DayEnglish
La Journée Louis RielFrench
Louis Riel DayGerman

Louis Riel Day 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Louis Riel Day 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015
List of dates for other years

Louis Riel Day is an annual general holiday in the Canadian province of Manitoba on the third Monday of February.It commemorates the life of Louis Riel, a politician who represented the Métis people's interests.

Bank Holiday Australia

Some people take time off for leisure activities on public holidays.

©iStockphoto.com/Filip Makowski

What do people do?

Louis Riel Day gives people in Manitoba the chance to enjoy some time with their families, to take a short winter break or to take part in outdoor sports events.  It is also an opportunity to learn about the Métis people's culture, language, heritage and ancestral homeland.

Public life

The third Monday of February is a general holiday in Manitoba. Many people have a day off work and school and many businesses, organizations and stores are closed. In some communities, stores are open after noon. Public transport services may follow Sunday or holiday timetables. In rural areas, there may be no services.

The third Monday of February is a holiday known as Family Day in Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan. Here, many people also have a day off work and schools are generally closed. Many businesses and organizations are closed, but post offices may be open. Public transport services may run to their usual or reduced timetables.

The third Monday of February is not a holiday in other Canadian provinces and territories so neither Louis Riel Day nor Family Day is observed. Schools, businesses, organizations, post offices and stores are open as usual and public transport services run to their usual timetables.

Background and symbols

Manitoba's government introduced a holiday in February in 2007. This was because there was a long period between New Year's Day and Good Friday when there were no holidays. A competition was held among school children to name the day. The winning name was 'Louis Riel Day' to commemorate this Manitoba politician. The date does not have any special connection to a particular event in Louis Riel's life. The first Louis Riel Day in Manitoba was in 2008.

Louis Riel was a leader of the Métis people of the Canadian prairies. These are an Aboriginal people with their own culture, language and heritage. The area, which was their ancestral homeland, is now in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia and the Northwest Territories and parts of the north-west of the United States. Louis Riel was also a founder of the Manitoba province and a Canadian politician. However, during his lifetime, he was a controversial figure and lived in exile in the United States for a number of years. He was involved in a number of uprisings and, after a controversial trial, he was executed for treason in 1885.

Louis Riel Day is observed on or around November 16 in other areas of Canada, particularly Toronto. This is the anniversary of Louis Riel's execution in 1885. Louis Riel Day is held in Toronto to commemorate Louis Riel's life and to celebrate the Métis people's culture, language, heritage and ancestral homeland.

Louis Riel Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is a statutory holiday
MonFeb 182008Louis Riel DayCommon Local holidaysManitoba
MonFeb 162009Louis Riel DayCommon Local holidaysManitoba
MonFeb 152010Louis Riel DayCommon Local holidaysManitoba
MonFeb 212011Louis Riel DayCommon Local holidaysManitoba
MonFeb 202012Louis Riel DayCommon Local holidaysManitoba
MonFeb 182013Louis Riel DayCommon Local holidaysManitoba
MonFeb 172014Louis Riel DayCommon Local holidaysManitoba
MonFeb 162015Louis Riel DayCommon Local holidaysManitoba
MonFeb 152016Louis Riel DayCommon Local holidaysManitoba
MonFeb 202017Louis Riel DayCommon Local holidaysManitoba
MonFeb 192018Louis Riel DayCommon Local holidaysManitoba
MonFeb 182019Louis Riel DayCommon Local holidaysManitoba
MonFeb 172020Louis Riel DayCommon Local holidaysManitoba

Other holidays in February 2014 in Canada

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