Home   Calendar   Holidays   Canada   Discovery Day

Discovery Day in Canada

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.

Picturesque fishing village in Newfoundland,Canada.
A quiet out-of-town spot in Newfoundland for holidays like Discovery Day.

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.


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.


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 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

Quick Facts

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

Discovery Day 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017 (local in Newfoundland and Labrador)

Discovery Day 2018

Monday, June 25, 2018 (local in Newfoundland and Labrador)


Name in other languages

Discovery DayEnglish
Journée Découverte/Jean CabotFrench
Discovery DayGerman

List of dates for other years

Related holiday

Other holidays in June 2017 in Canada

United Nation Holidays on June 26, 2017

Fun Holiday on June 26, 2017

You might also like

The Apocalypse is near - again!

The end of the world is near. Again! For centuries, doomsdayers and self-styled prophets have claimed to know about the end of the world, emphasizing that their version of the apocalypse will come true. more

Watching Lunar Eclipses

A lunar eclipse can be seen with the naked eye, unlike solar eclipses, which have special safety requirements. more