Happy May Two-Four!

May 20, 2024

In Canada we celebrate Victoria Day, which is kind of a strange holiday. It’s in honour of Queen Victoria, who was Canada’s monarch during the time of Canadian Confederation. Her birthday was May 24th, but the holiday is celebrated on the last Monday before May 25th, so it moves around.

I grew up on Prince Edward Island, which was named after Victoria’s father. It’s the smallest Canadian province, and was where the Charlottetown Conference took place in 1864. The conference was where the whole “Canada as a country” thing got kicked off in earnest, so it’s a prominent part of Prince Edward Island’s culture.

I took all of this for granted for a long time. People in the UK must also celebrate Victoria Day, right? Or people in other former British colonies? Turns out, no! It’s a weird, Canada-only thing. It was also commonly called “May Two-Four”, both as a nod to Victoria’s birthday, but also because of another Canadian thing — the “two four”, or 24-pack of beer that some would also buy for the long weekend.

So have a happy May Two-Four, and happy sort-of-birthday to Queen Victoria!