Home   Calendar   Holidays   Canada   Family Day

Family Day in Canada

Family Day is observed in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick on the third Monday of February. In British Columbia, Family Day falls on the second Monday of February. This holiday celebrates the importance of families and family life to people and their communities.

Family Day gives families the chance to spend time together.
Family Day gives families the chance to spend time together.
©iStockphoto.com/Catherine Yeulet

What Do People Do?

On Family Day, many people plan and take part in activities aimed at the whole family. These include visiting art exhibitions, watching movies, skating on outdoor ice rinks, playing board games, and taking part in craft activities. Some communities plan special public events, and art galleries and museums may have reduced price or free entry.

As the weather is usually very cold in February, hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies are popular snacks. Other people use the long weekend as an opportunity for a short winter break or to travel to visit family members or friends. As Family Day falls on the same date as National Heritage Day (except in British Columbia), some people use the day to explore their personal heritage and family history.

Public Life

In the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and New Brunswick many people have a day off work and schools are generally closed on Family Day. Many businesses and organizations are closed, but post offices may be open. Public transport services may run to their usual or reduced timetables.

In the province of Manitoba, the third Monday of February is a general holiday, known as Louis Riel Day. Many people have a day off work. Schools and many businesses, organizations, and stores are closed. In some communities, stores are open after noon. Public transport services may run on Sunday or holiday timetables. In rural areas, there may be no services.

In the other provinces and territories of Canada, Family Day is not observed, and there are no other holidays falling on the second Monday in February. Businesses, organizations, schools, and post offices are open as usual, and public transport services run to their normal timetables.

Background

First held in Alberta in 1990, Family Day was proposed by the province's former premier, Don Getty, after his son was arrested for dealing drugs. Although Getty denied any connection, it is believed that this episode motivated him to establish an occasion to counteract what he saw as the erosion of family values in Canadian society.

Family Day is supposed to reflect the values of family and home that were important to the pioneers who founded Alberta, and to give workers the opportunity to spend more time with their families. It was introduced in Saskatchewan in 2007 and in Ontario in 2008. British Columbia observed Family Day as a statutory holiday for the first time in 2013, New Brunswick in 2018.

Holidays to celebrate families are also held in other places around the globe. In the Australian Capital Territory, the first Tuesday of November is known as Family and Community Day. In South Africa, the day after Easter Sunday is Family Day.

Family Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere it is a statutory holiday
MonFeb 152010Family DayCommon Local HolidaysAB, ON, SK
MonFeb 212011Family DayCommon Local HolidaysAB, ON, SK
MonFeb 202012Family DayCommon Local HolidaysAB, ON, SK
MonFeb 112013Family DayCommon Local HolidaysBritish Columbia
MonFeb 182013Family DayCommon Local HolidaysAB, ON, SK
MonFeb 102014Family DayCommon Local HolidaysBritish Columbia
MonFeb 172014Family DayCommon Local HolidaysAB, ON, SK
MonFeb 92015Family DayCommon Local HolidaysBritish Columbia
MonFeb 162015Family DayCommon Local HolidaysAB, ON, SK
MonFeb 82016Family DayCommon Local HolidaysBritish Columbia
MonFeb 152016Family DayCommon Local HolidaysAB, ON, SK
MonFeb 132017Family DayCommon Local HolidaysBritish Columbia
MonFeb 202017Family DayCommon Local HolidaysAB, ON, SK
MonFeb 122018Family DayCommon Local HolidaysBritish Columbia
MonFeb 192018Family DayCommon Local HolidaysAB, NB, ON, SK
MonFeb 182019Family DayCommon Local HolidaysAB, BC, NB, ON, SK
MonFeb 172020Family DayCommon Local HolidaysAB, BC, NB, ON, SK

Quick Facts

Family Day is a public holiday in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and New Brunswick.

Family Day 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018 (British Columbia)
Monday, February 19, 2018 (Alberta, New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan)

Family Day 2019

Monday, February 18, 2019 (Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan)

Advertising

Name in other languages

NameLanguage
Family DayEnglish
Jour de la FamilleFrench
Tag der FamilieGerman

List of dates for other years

Related holidays

Other holidays in February 2019 in Canada

Fun Holiday on February 19, 2019

You might also like

Lunar Eclipse July 27-28

Lunar Eclipse July 27-28

This is also called a Blood Moon because the Moon usually takes on a dark red color. It is the longest one this century, will you be able to see it? more

The Hindu deity Rahu.

Solar Eclipse Myths

The solar eclipse has inspired many mythical stories and influenced human behavior. Even today, eclipses of the Sun are considered bad omens in many cultures. more

Watching Lunar Eclipses

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