Ever since I was a little girl, I admired the young Princess Alexandrina Victoria, who would become one of the longest reigning royals in the history of Great Britain. Each year, I like to use Victoria Day as a starting point for studies of Canadian geography, history, and government.
Queen Victoria had a huge influence on the settling and growth of Canada. In fact, the province we live in was named for her fourth daughter, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta. One of the most beautiful spots in Banff National Park, Lake Louise, is another namesake.
Why is Victoria Day important to Canada? This is something many children are no longer able to explain. These days, the long weekend marks the beginning of camping season, and is often referred to as May Long among other names, completely ignoring the history of the holiday that began as Empire Day during Queen Victoria’s reign.
So why is this queen seen as so important to Canada? What was her influence compared to other monarchs? It isn’t simply the length of her reign (63 years, 216 days), since her great-great-granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, surpassed this record on September 9, 2015.
No, Queen Victoria, a staunch imperialist, loved her colonial subjects and made sure to keep herself involved with Canada and its coming together as a country. Even very early in her reign, she felt deep concern upon hearing of the Rebellions of 1837-38, and granted amnesty to the rebels in honour of her Coronation.
She was a settling influence on things and respected our rights to become a Dominion on July 1, 1967. She believed the formation of the Dominion of Canada would make the provinces great and prosperous. She even chose Ottawa as the Capital of Canada, and was known as the Mother of Confederation. Although she never visited Canada herself, all four of her sons spent time here, one of them becoming Governor General, as well as her daughter Louise, whose husband was also a Governor General.
There is much to learn about this fascinating and long-serving monarch who had such a huge effect on Canada.
May is a wonderful month to focus on Victoria Day and use this celebration as a kick-off to study:
- Geography: How many place names can you find that were influenced by Queen Victoria, and where are they located? How many building and streets were named after the queen and her family?
- History: How did the tiny queen influence the settling and coming together of our vast country?
- Government: How does Canada’s Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy compare to the Federalism of the United States?
Why not take some time out this spring and see what fun facts you can find?
Kimberley Linkletter – After a 20-plus year career in politics and government, my life took a turn and I became a homeschooling gramma to our energetic and adventurous grandson EJ. There is nothing we like better than loading up our car and hitting the road to see what we can see. As my girls have always said, “Mom says everywhere is on the way to somewhere,” so we love to take detours along our route. You find some of the best places that way!
We keep busy reviewing homeschool products, visiting small town (and not so small town) diners and cafes, museums, National Parks, hotels, and campgrounds.
EJ and I (Miss Kimmy to my friends) love to share our adventures with you here on Vintage Blue Suitcase.