Fredericton — On May 23, New Brunswickers will be celebrating the queen… of Nickelodeon. The New Brunswick government is trying to connect with young voters by transforming a stale holiday tradition into a hip celebration honouring a pop-culture icon: Victoria Justice.
“Honestly, most New Brunswickers know nothing about Queen Victoria and don’t connect at all with this holiday. It’s become completely meaningless to them,” said New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant. “So, we thought this would be a good opportunity to celebrate one of the best and brightest of our present-day royalty — Hollywood celebrities.”
Victoria Day was first declared a holiday by the legislature of the Province of Canada in 1845. Presently, it is a federal Canadian public holiday celebrated on the last Monday preceding May 25, in honour of Queen Victoria‘s birthday. Victoria ruled from June 1837 to January 1901 and she was the first Queen of Canada, sitting on the throne when this country was founded in 1867.
In a 2015 survey of 1,000 people, almost half of the respondents didn’t know why Canada celebrates Victoria Day. In fact, New Brunswick doesn’t recognize Victoria Day as a paid public holiday, but the province does consider it a day of rest. So, this year, the province has decided to honour other famous Victorias in an attempt to modernize the holiday.
“Right now, Victoria Justice is arguably the most famous ‘Victoria’ on the planet, so I think it’s fitting to celebrate the accomplishments of this talented woman,” said Gallant. “She’s a brilliant actress, singer, and dancer — a triple threat! Honestly, I’ve been a fan of her work for a long time. She’s attractive, down to earth, and has accomplished a lot at a very young age… kind of like me.”
Next year, Gallant says the government may choose to celebrate other famous Victorias. “Posh Spice — Victoria Beckham — comes to mind. I had a huge crush on her back in 1997 when I was a 15-year-old and ‘Wannabe’ was a hit song. Yes, I wasn’t old enough to drive when ‘Wannabe’ was popular and now I’m running the province.
“Does that make you feel like an old-timer from the Victorian era? Bahahahaha!” he laughed.