1. A Public Holiday
Discovery Day is a public holiday observed in Yukon, a Canadian territory. The holiday occurs every Monday in the third week of August in remembrance of gold discovery in Bonanza Creek during the 19th century. The holiday is also referred to as Klondike Gold Discovery Day.
2. Different Dates in Newfoundland and Labrador
In the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, discovery day is held on the Monday that nears June 24. Also referred to as Cabot 500 Day, it commemorates Giovanni Caboto famously known as John Cabot’s discovery of an island in the province. However, this day is different from the discovery day in Yukon.
3. History of Discovery Day in Yukon
In Yukon, history of the Discovery Day is drawn from the period when George Washington Carmack learnt about the presence of gold at Bonanza Creek in Yukon on 17th August 1896. This discovery prompted traders and miners in North America to get interested in gold. However, the boom was brief with the introduction of power-driven mining methods which replaced miners.
4. Origin of Discovery Day in Newfoundland and Labrador
In Labrador and Newfoundland, this day that is celebrated to remember the year that Giovanni Caboto, also known John Cabot, discovered on an island in the region of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1497. This day has been commemorated since 1997 which was the 500th anniversary of the finding. Later on, Cabot left onboard his ship famously known as the Matthew on May 20th 1497.
5. Discovery Day Celebrations
In Yukon, the Discovery Day is celebrated with different activities across the territory in locations such as Watson Lake, also referred to as the “gateway to Yukon recreation”. Other locations are Dawson City, the center of Klondike gold rush and Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Discovery Day is mainly celebrated in Bonavista.
6. Activities that Mark Discovery Day
On Discovery Day, Yukon is filled with activities and events such as family days, tournaments and festivals. This day also serves as an opportunity for people to visit Dawson City to view the historic street theater and watch photo Mounties also known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in full uniform. In Newfoundland and Labrador, a huge number of people in Bonavista visit the Matthew legacy site and hold events such as talent shows.
7. A Constitutional Day in Yukon
In Yukon, Discovery Day is regarded as a Constitutional holiday. Due to this, Government institutions and schools remain closed but private sector institutions remain open. Unlike in Yukon, Discovery Day is a remunerated day for government employees in Newfoundland and Labrador. School schedules in the region are fixed by specific school districts and so, schools confirm Discovery Day with their districts.
8. Discovery Day Symbols in Yukon
In Yukon, Discovery Day is symbolized by a flag consisting three vertical sections. The green section signifies the forests; the white section signifies the snow while the deep blue section normally on the fly side signifies the rivers and lakes in Yukon. The section on the center represents the coat of arms and the floral emblem represents the fireweed.
9. Discovery Day Symbols in Newfoundland and Labrador
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Matthew legacy site in Bonavista is one of the tourist attraction sites and the main symbol of the Discovery Day. John Cabot’s vessel was referred by his wife’s name, Mattea in the year 1497 when he arrived in Canada. In 1996, a replica of Cabot’s vessel was built in Bristol, United Kingdom with the aim of repeating Cabot’s initial journey to Bonavista.
10. Culture, History and Sport
The Discovery Day has also been used as an opportunity for artists, athletes and organizations seeking for funding to get a chance to present their ideas. Additionally, this day provides an opportunity to learn culture, sports and history of Canada.