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Rabbi Lawrence A. Englander

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Statue of Queen Victoria

Each year on the Monday before May 24, Canadians (well, most of them) celebrate a holiday in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday. Victoria, whose assertive personality rose far above her 4- foot, 11-inch height, reigned as Queen of the United Kingdom from 1837 until her death in 1901. (She also became Empress of India in 1877, but that’s another story.)

This is a uniquely Canadian holiday; it is not celebrated at all in Britain. (In fact, Quebec does not acknowledge it, and a couple of other provinces have renamed it.) So that might cause you to wonder: Why do any Canadians keep...

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