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Islander Day – February 20, 2023

Islander Day is an annual state holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February and takes place on February 20 this year. This occasion is for people in the province of Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada. On this day, provincial offices and educational institutions usually remain closed, allowing their employees to take a day off. The idea behind the holiday is to give people some much-needed time to relax and pursue their personal interests and hobbies, as well as enjoy some time with their family and the community. It’s a great excuse to spend a day reading your favorite book or catching up with a friend. It’s your day to do whatever you feel like.

History of Islander Day

Wondering how this chilled holiday came into being? Let’s give you a sneak peek into the background. Islander Day was commemorated for the first time in 2008. When Robert Ghiz was elected premier of PEI in 2007, he made a promise to declare a new holiday for the island. He made good on his promise the next year, saying that the holiday would give everyone in his province an opportunity to celebrate family/personal time and community life. It was officially declared as a statutory holiday on November 28, 2008, after getting approval from the province’s legislature.

Initially, it was the second Monday of February that was decided to be the holiday and its first observance was to be February 9, 2009. However, this became an issue for federal government employees. Officials of the Public Service Alliance of Canada decided that these employees would have to choose between Islander Day and a federal government holiday in August. Later, Carolyn Bertram, the then Community and Cultural Affairs Minister of the island, raised the matter with Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Labour. Bertram stated that Islander Day was supposed to be a paid holiday for workers across the province. Ambrose agreed to look into the matter as a federal collective agreement fell outside provincial jurisdiction. Having further considered the issue, the federal committee changed the date to be the third Monday of February, which took effect from 2010.

Thanks to Ghiz’s promise and Bertram’s efforts, we now have a long weekend to take a much-needed break from work to chill and have fun.

Islander Day timeline

1534
Prince Edward Island is Discovered

Jacques Cartier discovers the island and it becomes a part of the French colony of Acadia.

1798
The Island Gets Its Current Name

The island’s name is changed from St. John’s Island to Prince Edward Island to distinguish it from St. John’s in Newfoundland and Saint John in New Brunswick.

1864
The Island Hosts the Charlottetown Conference

The island hosts the famed Charlottetown Conference which leads to the Quebec Resolutions and the eventual creation of Canada.

1997
The Confederation Bridge is Opened

The Confederation Bridge, joining Prince Edward Island with New Brunswick, opens to the public.

Islander Day FAQs

Is Islander Day a stat holiday?

Yes, for many people in the Prince Edward Island province, it is a statutory holiday.

Are stores open on Islander Day?

Many shops, restaurants, and services will not be running on Islander Day. If you want to go to a shop or restaurant, it will be best to call ahead and check if they’re open.

What fun things are there to do on Islander Day?

There are plenty of ways to enjoy your day of freedom! For example, you can head to the trails of Bonshaw Hills Provincial Park or the bouncy fun offered by Off The Wallz Trampoline Park.

Islander Day Activities

  1. Relax and enjoy a day to yourself

    On this day off, take a break from your busy schedule and laze around with a cup of hot chocolate. We love the idea of sharing a warm huddle with your kids and maybe enjoying a “Harry Potter” movie marathon.

  2. Go for a snowy adventure

    If you love the outdoors, this is a good day to take a hike up the Cardigan trail, go sledding in Souris, or visit Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park in Brookvale. Alternatively, enjoy a day out at the Alberton Winter Carnival.

  3. Enjoy a snoga retreat

    You must have heard of yoga, but have you ever heard of snoga? That’s Yoga in the snow! Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? This Islander Day, wrap up warmly and enjoy a refreshing course of Yoga in the snowy wonderland.

5 Important Facts About Prince Edward Island

  1. Canada’s smallest province

    PEI is Canada’s tiniest province, both in terms of population and land size.

  2. Home to Lucy Maud Montgomery

    The author of the famed novel “Anne of Green Gables,” Lucy Maud Montgomery, was born in PEI.

  3. The first inhabitants

    The Mi’kmaq were the first residents of the island and they gave it the name ‘Epekwitk,’ which meant ‘lying on the water.’

  4. Tale of two cities

    Being Canada’s smallest province, PEI houses only two cities — Summerside and its capital, Charlottetown.

  5. No land boundary

    The island is the only province in Canada with no land boundary.

Why We Love Islander Day

  1. A day to rest

    The Island Day long weekend gives us a chance to unwind after a tiring week of work. Imagine snuggling in your blanket at your favorite corner and reading that long-pending book. Ah, such comfort!

  2. It’s vacation time

    The long weekend is when people of PEI plan short vacations to the capital and the many beaches in and around the island. It’s the perfect excuse for a getaway!

  3. Feast and fun

    A lot of islanders head to Charlottetown, where a lively Islander Day Festival is held every year. The festival is best known for its lavish pancake breakfast.

Islander Day dates

YearDateDay
2022February 21Monday
2023February 20Monday
2024February 19Monday
2025February 17Monday
2026February 16Monday

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