Did you know the upcoming holiday Monday—Victoria Day—celebrates the birthday of Queen Victoria? She reigned for nearly 64 years, and the capital city of our province is named for her as well. While her real birthday fell on May 24, the second-to-last Monday of May always celebrates the symbolic birthdays of both Queen Victoria and her great grand-daughter, our current reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
Depending on where you live in British Columbia, you may consider the holiday Monday to be the start of the summer season. Here in Victoria, spring flowers are in full bloom, and temperatures are warm. Summer might feel a little farther off in other corners of the province, but regardless of the weather, many British Columbians are looking forward to enjoying a long weekend.
COVID-19, however, has meant this Victoria Day will look different than other years. British Columbians have been urged to stay close to home and explore locally. The annual parades, camping trips, family barbeques, backyard parties and other group celebrations are on hold. Following the guidance of our health officials is crucial in the fight against COVID-19. To stay home is an act of care for your friends, families, neighbours and all members of your community.
It is vital in these challenging times that British Columbians extend this kindness to one another in all aspects of life. That may mean giving space for social distancing on the sidewalk or helping an elderly neighbour with grocery shopping. It also means standing up to acts of racism and violence against our fellow British Columbians. It is with great sadness that I heard of such incidents occurring with greater frequency in our province, in particular, against the Asian community. These terrible acts have no place in our province; one of British Columbia’s greatest strengths is the diversity of its people. Now, more than ever, we must come together and support one another. We must practice patience, kindness and understanding, and speak up against hate in all forms.
On behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, I want to wish all British Columbians a peaceful and relaxing Victoria Day. I also wish to thank to our frontline workers and all who have worked hard over the past few months to support our province. The hearts and gratitude of British Columbia is with you all.