Best of NTC: Victoria Day (Canada), Memorial Day (USA)

Best of NTC: Victoria Day (Canada), Memorial Day (USA)

Teaching tip

This year, lots of us have a holiday Monday in May – the Canadians on 18th May, the Americans and the British on 25th May.


Victoria Day was first declared a holiday to celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria, but these days, Victoria Day marks the end of the winter ski season and the start of the rather short summer season for national parks and outdoor restaurants.
South of the border, in the United States of America, Memorial Day is a time of reflection and remembrance for those soldiers who have been killed in war. Many people visit cemeteries and war memorials.

In the United Kingdom, the Spring Bank Holiday is simply a day off! Originally, the holiday was the Monday after Whitsuntide, but for the past fifty years or so, it has been fixed on the last Monday in May. A Bank Holiday meant that the banks were officially closed and no trading could take place. The banks are still closed on Bank Holidays, but there is plenty of trading in the shops!

Click on the left button below if you would like to find out more about Victoria Day in Canada and Memorial Day in the USA – you’ll find a couple of interesting links and a short quiz to check your knowledge of Canada’s provinces!

And if you would like an activity for A1 level upwards to test your students’ knowledge of Victoria Day, Memorial Day and the Spring Bank Holiday, then click on the right button below.

Best of network Teachers' Club
New activity



Which holiday? (level A1 upwards, 10 mins)

  • On the board write Memorial Day, Victoria Day and Spring Bank Holiday.
  • Explain that these are holidays in USA, Canada and the UK at the end of May (Victoria Day on 18 May, Memorial Day and Spring Bank Holiday on 25 May).
  • Ask students to write numbers 1 to 10 vertically on a piece of paper.
  • Tell them you are going to read out information about the activities of ten people on these days in May and the students should decide and note down which holiday the people are celebrating and in which country.
  • Read each sentence aloud: 1 Ann is going to drive from Calgary to Vancouver. 2 Bill is going to stay at home in Washington DC. 3 Carole is going to meet her parents in Toronto. 4 David is going to have a barbecue with friends on the beach in Brighton on the south coast. 5 Ella and her husband are going to stay in a hotel near Buckingham Palace. 6 Fred and his brother are going to visit a war memorial in San Francisco. 7 Gary is going to hike in the Rockie Mountains in British Columbia. 8 Helen wants to visit her sister in New York. 9 Isabel is going to have a party at home in Edinburgh. 10 Jack is going to see his grandparents in Quebec.
  • Check answers together in class.
    Key: Memorial Day, USA: 2, 6, 8; Victoria Day, Canada: 1, 3, 7, 10; Spring Bank Holiday, UK: 4, 5, 9
  • Extension: Students could make up their own sentences and ask other students.
  • Ask students what they are going to do on Whit Monday, 25 May (Pfingstmontag).

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