Empire Day, observed annually on the school day preceding the May 24 holiday for Queen Victoria's birthday, was the most important patriotic rite for children in English-speaking Canada during the half century following its first observance 23 May 1899. The idea originated with Clementina Fessenden of Hamilton, and was publicized across the country by George Ross, Ontario education minister. Empire Day celebrations were associated with IMPERIALISM, militarism and immigrant assimilation. After an initial decline in the 1930s, the celebrations were rejuvenated by WWII. In later years various provinces renamed the day Commonwealth or Citizenship Day.
See also VICTORIA DAY.