Celebrated in Quebec, the provincial statutory holiday National Patriots’ Day on May 23rd is a nationalistic celebration and opportunity to discover Canada’s French roots on your Canadian holiday.
Observed on the same date as Victoria Day, National Patriots’ Day instead shuns the crown to salute the men who rebelled against British rule during 1837-1838. The day has been celebrated under the name National Patriots’ Day since 2003, replacing the original la Fete de Dollard which honoured the 17th century military hero Adam Dollard des Ormeaux.
Today, National Patriots’ Day sees locals and visitors join in the fun to promote provincial pride and remember how modern Quebec came to be. Families make the most of the long weekend, spending time together and enjoying the great outdoors. If you’re visiting Quebec, however, you can expect parades, commemorative concerts and even re-enactments.
National Patriots’ Day offers numerous events to attend and learn about the region’s history. See some of the best below:
Naturally, the province’s namesake city pulls out all the stops on this holiday and visitors hoping to see the action for themselves should congregate at the place d’Youville. This community square in the heart of Quebec City is transformed on National Patriots’ Day. Actors and dancers re-enact the rebellion, before carrying the provincial flag to a special dinner at the historic museum and house Maison Chevalier in the city’s old port district.
If you’re hoping to root around in Quebec’s historical roots, The Musee Stewart in downtown Montreal city will be holding a special guided tour on May 22nd. The one-off exhibition In the footsteps of the Patriots will showcase the museum’s impressive collection of artefacts from the Lower Canada rebellion and the events surrounding it.
Patriotism on National Patriots’ Day doesn’t come more animated than in Gatineau, a city in the Outaouais region of western Quebec. Here visitors will no doubt be swept away in the parade, festival and concert marking the occasion on the Sunday beforehand. Alongside speeches, the event includes a traditional raising ceremony of the provincial blue and white fleur-de-lis flag.