Happy Colonel By Day, Or Whatever You Call It!

The Civic Holiday is the most widely used name for a public holiday celebrated in most parts of Canada on the first Monday in August, though it is only officially known by that term by in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and P.E.I. The holiday is known by a variety of names in other provinces and municipalities, including “British Columbia Day” in B.C. ‘New Brunswick Day’ in New Brunswick, and ‘Saskatchewan Day’ in Saskatchewan. The holiday is celebrated as Natal Day in Nova Scotia and Terry Fox Day in Manitoba.

The Civic holiday was renamed Simcoe Day in Toronto in 1969 in honour of the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. It’s also known as Colonel By Day in Ottawa, George Hamilton Day in Hamilton, Joseph Brant Day in Burlington, and Founders’ Day in Brantford. Whatever you call it… we hope you have a great day – and hopefully a long weekend!

You’ve probably passed the statue of Lieutenant Colonel John By in Major’s Hill Park. He essentially founded Ottawa, which was originally named Bytown in his honour. Colonel John By supervised the construction of Ottawa’s Rideau Canal, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On Monday, Bytown Days will be celebrated from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, at the entrance locks to the Rideau Canal beside the Bytown Museum, just west of the Chateau Laurier. The day features live entertainment, dancers and other costumed characters along with other activities. Admission to the Bytown Museum will be free from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Some 30 local heritage organizations, including Heritage Ottawa, will be on hand at the exhibitors area.

More information about Colonel By Day and Bytown Days, at Heritage Ottawa dot org

Image source: Ottawa Archives,  www.starottawa.com

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