Family Day, A Great Idea Since 1989

Pipestone Flyer

On February 16th, 2015, By-the-Lake Park in Wetaskiwin was a flurry of activity (and snow) as happy families and friends participated in the annual Family Day celebration hosted by the Rotary Club and Catholic Social Services, Sign of Hope.

Guests were provided with a fun-filled day of activities such as horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice skating, tobogganing, RCMP, Wetaskiwin Fire Services and EMT displays and an open water rescue demonstration. A steady flow of people entered and  departed the By-the-Lake Park Hall where they were treated to complimentary hot dogs, doughnuts, and hot chocolate. After warming up in the Hall, people filed down the pathway towards the open-water section of By-the-Lake Park. Wetaskiwin Fire Services (WFS) convinced Councillor Neilson that they had practised and were proficient in winter open water rescue and that he would make and excellent ‘subject’ for a rescue demonstration.

It wasn’t like that in 1989 as the province did not have civic holiday in the month of February recognizing Family Day in Alberta. That was about to change. Premier of Alberta, Don Getty, felt it was important for Albertans to take a day off from work and spend time with their families. He proposed the new holiday that was intended to emphasize family values. In 1990 the new holiday, Heritage Day was proclaimed by Lieutenant Governor, Helen Hunley.

This new holiday in Alberta was unique. Alberta was the only province to have a holiday in February until Saskatchewan offered a similar holiday in 2007. Today Family Day is a statutory holiday occurring on the third Monday of February in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan. It is observed on the second Monday of February in British Columbia. In the province of Manitoba the holiday is referred to Louis Riel Day and in Prince Edward Island as Islander Day.

The new holiday was not popular with everyone. Many employers felt that an additional statutory holiday was an unnecessary financial burden. In response to the criticism, the holiday of Heritage Day was downgraded to a civic holiday, meaning employers are not required to observe this day. Under Alberta law, the employer may choose to observe Heritage Day as a general holiday, under which rules applying to general holiday pay will be used.

As Family Day is a provincial holiday, federal employees in all provinces (such as public servants and postal workers) work on this day.

Pictured: Samantha Codrance and Riley Gregg were happy visiting the RCMP display on Family Day. Photo by Barry McDonald. See more event photos in this week’s paper.

Just Posted

Devastating house fire in Millet area Oct. 17

Tetlock family has GoFundMe set up after losing everything they own

Three cannabis retail developments coming to the City of Wetaskiwin

Legalization leads to high costs for the city

Mentally healthy workplaces boost bottom line: speaker

Robert Manolson says employees looking for kinder workplaces

Wetaskiwin reader horrified at Trudeau’s weakness

Trudeau ignores child murderer’s transfer: writer

Federal carbon tax rebates will exceed the cost for most people affected

Officials say 70 per cent of people in those provinces will get back more than they end up paying out as fuel costs rise to incorporate the carbon tax.

Ponoka plays host to music arts program aimed at empowering youths

Ponoka Secondary Campus Grade 7s learned about awareness through song writing

$38,000 power bill in Ontario raising red flags for Albertans

MP Blaine Calkins is concerned about the potential costs of power for Albertans

Canadian troops, families take shelter in hotel after Florida hurricane

Most of the Canadians were evacuated from the military base before Hurricane Michael

Mega Millions, Powerball prizes come down to math, long odds

Biggest myth: The advertised $1.6 billion Mega Millions prize and $620 million Powerball prize aren’t quite real

2 Canadians advance to finals at world wrestling championships

Olympic champion Erica Wiebe just missed joining them with a loss 3-1 to three-time world champion Adeline Gray of the United States in the 76-kg event

Outdoor retailer MEC vows to boost diversity after online complaint

Mountain Equipment Co-op was criticized for perpetuating a white-only picture of the outdoors

Trump vilifies caravan, says he’ll cut Central American aid

Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the Guatemala-Mexico border, about 5,000 Central American migrants resumed their advance toward the U.S. border Sunday in southern Mexico.

Rotating strike in Toronto will have ‘significant impact,’ says Canada Post

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities.

Most Read