“The twenty-fourth of May is the Queen’s birthday. If we don’t get a holiday, we’ll all run away.” For generations, Canadian children chanted this threat.
1916 was still three years short of the centenary of Queen Victoria’s birth, but only fifteen years after her death. The children’s chant doesn’t sound very reverent, but the Globe certainly was.
Years enlighten and deepen memories of the revered Queen whose natal day has been dedicated to pleasure and recreation throughout the Empire. The first impression of a day of childish rejoicing grew, during that reign, to a mature appreciation of the far-reaching influence of a life of noble sincerity, and as year followed year each birthday found that elevating and unifying power gaining greater strength and blending imperceptibly with a nation’s reverence and devotion. (1)
Christian virtues, sincerely exemplified in Queen Victoria, upheld the greatness of Britain, said the Globe, and impelled “the sturdy manhood of Britain, in all parts of the world, to take up arms on behalf of outraged Belgium.” (1)
The sturdy of manhood of Britain, as represented in the soldiers at Exhibition Camp, Toronto, were probably simply pleased to have a holiday — a day of rest, without parades, and with “the usual Sunday leave.”(2)
(1) The Globe (1844-1936). May 24, 1916. 6. Archive available from ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
(2) The Globe (1844-1936). May 23, 1916. 8. Archive available from ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
The images of Victoria are from Historic-UK.com.