What is National Patriots’ Day?

By zasciaon August 12, 2019

If you live in the province of Quebec, you most likely celebrate National Patriots’ Day. The annual holiday falls on the Monday before May 25th. It is a statutory holiday that many Canadians outside of Quebec may not be aware of. National Patriots’ Day coincides with the Victoria Day holiday that is observed in the rest of Canada.

What is this day all about?

National Patriots’ Day is a day to honour French patriots who rebelled against the British colonial powers in Lower Canada in 1837. This contrasts with Victoria Day, which celebrates Queen Victoria’s Birthday. Quebec has never celebrated Victoria Day; before 2003 the day was called Fête de Dollard, which honoured the 17th century military hero Adam Dollard des Ormeaux. The 17th-century figure was seen as a role model to be emulated. In 2003, it was changed to what is now called National Patriots’ Day. Like the Victoria Day long weekend, this day is considered the unofficial kickoff to summer.

How is National Patriots’ Day celebrated?

Quebecers reject the British monarchy on this day to salute the men who rebelled against British rule from 1837 to 1838. It’s a day to promote provincial pride. The day is marked with parades, commemorative concerts, re-enactments and music. The colours of the day are blue and white, just like the provincial fleur-de-lis flag. Events include a traditional raising of the blue and white flag ceremony. Major events happen in Montreal, Quebec City and in Gatineau, known for robust patriotism, but the holiday is celebrated throughout the province. Experts say the holiday is an important reminder of the province’s struggle for independence and its desire to become a country.

Should you work on a statutory holiday?

Like Victoria Day elsewhere in Canada, in Quebec most businesses, government offices, banks, and stores are closed on National Patriots’ Day. This means anyone working that day is due extra pay for working on a statutory holiday. This standard is to pay employees 1.5 times their wage for the first 12 hours, and double time for any work over 12 hours if they work on a stat.  This money is on top of the average day’s pay that every eligible employee gets.  Employees working on a statutory holiday can also ask for a substitute holiday time. They would then earn holiday pay later. From a personal finance point of view, it would be better to take the extra pay upfront, and take a day off unpaid in the future, rather than waiting to get paid for the day in the future.

Regardless of where you live, the Monday that falls before May 25th is a holiday. If you are lucky enough to have a day off, enjoy your time off with pay. Otherwise, working is always a great option to kickstart your savings and put away some of the holiday pay you are earning.

If you are in Quebec for National Patriot’s Day, celebrating doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money and put you in more debt. Check out the free events happening across the province. Save your money and get ready for the expensive summer season.


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