For Canadians, the long post-holiday stretch of winter between January to April can feel never-ending, which is why (at least, as far as we understand it) Family Day was "invented" in 1990.
In 2013, Family Day will take place on February 18, 2013 — but that doesn't go for every province. In B.C., where the public had the opportunity to vote on when the province's first February holiday Monday would take place, February 11, 2013 was chosen.
In Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan (the only other provinces in which the holiday is observed), Family Day has taken place on the third Monday of February each year. In Manitoba, that holiday date is known as Louis Riel Day, and in P.E.I., Islander Day is celebrated. The holiday for these regions corresponds with the U.S.'s President's Day.
But where it takes place isn't the only confusing thing about Family Day. Because it's regulated by provincial governments, federal workers are still at work, so mail will be delivered and the passport office, for example, is open. Other tourist-oriented spots, like large malls and museums will be running, while province-controlled liquor stores and libraries will be closed.
Established since 1990 in Alberta, 2007 in Saskatchewan and 2008 in Ontario, the day is set aside to give families time to spend together, and also to create a long weekend where none would occur from New Year's until Good Friday.
What we love about this day (besides the day off work) is the opportunity it warrants to spend time with your family, no matter how you define that term. So gather your friends, your partner, your parents, your pets, your kids, your colleagues, whoever, and start some traditions that can take place every year for a much-deserved break.
SEE: Some ideas to get outside with the family on Family Day — and how many calories you can burn (based on a 150-pound person) doing them:
Staging A Snowball Fight
Get competitive with the kids or some friends and pick a snowball fight. That <a href="http://www.myfitnesspal.com/exercise/lookup">light jogging</a> to dodge the enemy pays off -- even just a 15-minute battle can burn more than 130 calories.
Head to the local rink and rent a pair of skates for a fun way to burn major calories. Just 45 minutes of gliding can burn <a href="http://www.myfitnesspal.com/exercise/lookup">more than 350 calories</a>.
An hour of zooming down the local hill -- followed by that dreaded hike back up -- can burn <a href="http://calorielab.com/burned/">more than 400 calories</a>.
Making Snow Angels
OK, so maybe no one has actually measured how many calories you burn while creating your own beautiful snow angel, but remember that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/04/fall-activities-burn-calories_n_1939705.html#slide=1601854">laughing burns about a calorie a minute</a>. Give yourself permission to get a little silly this season.
Building A Snowman
First there's squatting down to gather the snow, then there's lots of walking and pushing to bulk up that snowball and finally there's some seriously heavy lifting to put each part of your creation in its place. So it's not surprising that <a href="http://www.fitsugar.com/Calories-Burned-Building-Snowman-Making-Snow-Angel-Having-Snow-Ball-Fight-878946">an hour of snowman building</a> can burn up to 285 calories, according to FitSugar.
Need more firewood? Don't think of chopping wood as a chore, when 20 minutes <a href="http://www.myfitnesspal.com/exercise/lookup">burns nearly 150 calories</a>.
Sure, the snowblower saves time, but shoveling can be quite the winter workout. Thirty minutes into clearing off the driveway, you'll have already burned <a href="http://www.myfitnesspal.com/exercise/lookup">more than 200 calories</a> and worked your arm muscles to boot. Just be sure to <a href="http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20342556,00.html">shovel safely</a> so as not to hurt your back.
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