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New Year's Day in Canada

According to the Gregorian calendar, used in Canada and many other countries, January 1 is the first day of a new year. This date is commonly known as New Year's Day and is a statutory holiday in all Canadian provinces and territories.

Many Canadians welcome the New Year with firework displays, parties and other festive gatherings.
Many Canadians welcome the New Year with firework displays, parties and other festive gatherings.
©iStockphoto.com/David Meharey

What do people do?

Many people start January 1 at parties to welcome the New Year on the evening of December 31. Many parties are at people's homes or in bars and clubs. However, in some rural areas, particularly in the province of Quebec, some people spend the night ice fishing with groups of friends. Many New Year's Eve parties continue into the early hours of January 1, so some people may spend most of the first day of the year recovering from the celebrations. Others take the opportunity to enjoy some time in the wintry Canadian landscape or to return home from their Christmas vacation.

Public life

January 1 is a statutory holiday in all Canadian provinces and territories and if this date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the statutory holiday moves to Monday January 2 or 3. Schools, post offices and many businesses and organizations are closed. In some areas, stores are closed, although this varies between provinces and even municipalities. Many public transport systems are shut down or offer a reduced service. January 2 is also of public holiday in the province of Quebec.


In Canada, the Gregorian calendar is used. This calendar was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII and was gradually accepted in many parts of western Europe in the following decades and centuries. The Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian Calendar, introduced by the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar in 46 BCE. The Julian calendar was replaced because it introduced too many leap days, thus increasing the number of days between the vernal equinox of March 21, its scheduled date as noted in 325 CE during the Council of Nicaea. The introduction of the Gregorian calendar allowed for realignment with the equinox.

The last day in the Gregorian calendar is December 31 and the first day is January 1. Canadians celebrate these two days as New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. The New Year's celebrations have roots in ancient celebrations of the winter solstice, both in Europe and by First Nation peoples in what is now Canada.


An important symbol of New Year’s Day is the fireworks that are set off to mark the beginning of the New Year at midnight as December 31 becomes January. There are particularly spectacular shows in many major cities, including Toronto. The Toronto fireworks display is a large public performance that is accompanied by music.

About New Year's Day in other countries

Read more about New Year's Day.

New Year's Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is a statutory holiday
FriJan 12010New Year's DayNational holiday 
SatJan 12011New Year's DayNational holiday 
MonJan 32011New Year's Day observedNational holiday 
SunJan 12012New Year's DayNational holiday 
MonJan 22012New Year's Day observedNational holiday 
TueJan 12013New Year's DayNational holiday 
WedJan 12014New Year's DayNational holiday 
ThuJan 12015New Year's DayNational holiday 
FriJan 12016New Year's DayNational holiday 
SunJan 12017New Year's DayNational holiday 
MonJan 22017New Year's Day observedNational holiday 
MonJan 12018New Year's DayNational holiday 
TueJan 12019New Year's DayNational holiday 
WedJan 12020New Year's DayNational holiday 

Quick Facts

New Year's Day is the first day of a new year according to the Gregorian calendar used in Canada and many other countries.

New Year's Day 2015

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Day 2016

Friday, January 1, 2016


Name in other languages

New Year's DayEnglish
Le Jour de l'AnFrench

List of dates for other years

Related holidays

Other holidays in January 2016 in Canada

Fun Holiday on January 1, 2016

Other Calendars

Related Links