Victoria Day at Burnaby Village

Happy Victoria Day and Happy Birthday to The Queen of Canada!

For my non-Canadian readers, Victoria Day is a statutory holiday (bank holiday for UK readers) in Canada* celebrated on the Monday before 25th May. (The way I choose to remember it is that it is observed on the Monday on or before Queen Victoria’s birthday (24th May – or May Two Four). It is the day Canadians* officially celebrate our current monarch’s (i.e. Queen Elizabeth II) birthday. *Please read about the exceptions and history in the Canadian Encyclopaedia by royal historian, Carolyn Harris. I am being very naive here. To be honest, the only ones who celebrate Victoria Day and The Queen’s birthday, are the loyal monarchists, royalists, royal watchers/fans, and me. I can tell you that the majority of people I know do not care about the holiday.

When I was living in Vancouver, I used to do one of two things on Victoria Day: visit Burnaby Village or go for afternoon tea. Burnaby Village is a free outdoor museum set in the 1920’s, during the reign of King George V and Queen Mary (grandparents of Queen Elizabeth II).

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The village comprises an apothecary, barber shop, blacksmith shop, buggy and bicycle shop, carousel house (a restored 1912 carousel that is very popular amongst children – costs $2.60 per ride), Chinese general imports shop, dentistry, general store, land office, school house, manor house, ice cream parlour, print shop, and tram station (complete with a 1913-1958 1223 tram).

The classroom with photos of King George V and Queen Mary

The classroom with photos of King George V and Queen Mary

On Victoria Day at Burnaby Village, however, Queen Victoria (who passed away in 1901 at the age of 81) visits Burnaby Village in a smart automobile and gives a speech to the ‘residents’ (the staff who work at the Village and are dressed in 1920’s costumes) and visitors of Burnaby Village. Guests will be allowed to have their photos taken with the sweet queen and also enjoy a piece of Union Jack cake (with blueberries and strawberries/raspberries).

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The procession is led by a bagpiper

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Queen Victoria arrives by car

The Burnaby Village is opened from 11-16:30 and accessible by bus (144, 123, and 129). Enjoy your day off! 🙂