a peek inside the fishbowl

16 Feb, 2009

Thoughts about Family Day

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy

First, some photos from our little hike yesterday:

me and the girls

Sarah at Lime Kiln Trail


Chickadee feet

Is it Family Day where you are?

There was a time when every Sunday was “family day” here in Ontario. Anyone remember that? The only thing that was open in our neck of the woods was our local library. 

Some parents are upset that stores and museums are closed today. Some are wondering how we can possibly keep kids out of school AND CLOSE THE STORES AND MUSEUMS.  

Some people are upset that it’s called Family Day because some people don’t have families. Yes, that’s true. But I politely suggest those people should just ignore the name of this particular statuatory holiday and take a Sharpie and (a) blot out the name of this holiday on their calendars and (b) call it something else like “Reading Day” or “Spend Time with The Dog Day” or “Best Friend Day” or “Clean Out My Closet Day.”

Some people are upset they aren’t getting the day off. And rightly so.

Family Day is a great idea. (In fact, I personally wouldn’t be upset if someone decided to revert back to no shopping on Sundays.) There are a hundred things people can do which don’t involve shopping or museums or anything else.

  • bake cookies
  • go for a long walk
  • visit with friends
  • play board games (Monopoly here we come!) or do a puzzle
  • host a movie marathon and eat tons of popcorn
  • read
  • write a book (Emma and I are working on one!)
  • go for a drive
  • go toboganning or skating
  • call your mother ;)

I know many of you are coming up with your own things to do with your families today – whether or not you are celebrating Family Day where you are.

14 Responses to "Thoughts about Family Day"

1 | Loukia

February 16th, 2009 at 9:34 am


I am at work today, sadly. But – I am leaving in the early afternoon to spend time with my family! It is annoying that Federal Gov’t employees don’t have this day off, but it turns out that 80% of us have taken the day off anyway! I find it is always harder coming back to work on Mondays – baby is really attached to me and I hate leaving him. At least my 3 year old understands why I have to go to work… anyway – enjoy your Family Day, whatever you do! It’s suppose to be a lovely day!

2 | Sharon

February 16th, 2009 at 10:18 am


My hubby has no family day, no way his company would give it to him PLUS here in La Belle Province schools are open and that’s where my kids are. SO I sit her alone on family day during my break from school, Reading your amazing blog.
Yesterday I was at the U of Ottawa library helping my daughter do research. It was mother daughter time.

3 | Karen at Virtually There

February 16th, 2009 at 12:52 pm


Agreed 100%! I love the idea but realize there are kinks and I agree whole-heartedly about reinstating no shopping on Sundays. I think we’ve lost something special in having shopping seven-days a week.

4 | Risa

February 16th, 2009 at 2:11 pm


I spent my much of my childhood in Ontario, and remember when they brought in Sunday shopping. Made it easier for me to pay my way thru university, but yeah…we sure lost something as a society.

It’s family day here too (Alberta, source of the original Family Day in Canada), but our stores and museums are open. In fact, some museums run special Family Day programs. Enjoy your day!

5 | BeachMama

February 16th, 2009 at 4:13 pm


I too wish that Sundays would go back to the way they were. Remember when if you didn’t get milk by 6pm on Saturday you had to wait until Monday?

We went to the canal, had a Beavertail and skated from Dow’s to Parliament and back again. Then we came home took naps and are hanging out together, perfect Family day to me.

6 | porter

February 16th, 2009 at 5:24 pm


Just got home from a family weekend at the cottage. It was such a treat to have this long weekend in the middle of Feb when so many of us were feeling just as winter was beginning to make me feel a bit trapped.

I also remember when everything was closed on Sundays. My parents used to take us for a ‘drive’. We would go somewhere rural and go for a walk, have a picnic or lunch in the car…my parents didn’t have alot of money and it was an outing on the only day of the week my Dad didn’t work. I have fond memories of those times.

7 | Ginger

February 16th, 2009 at 6:41 pm


How sad it is that Texas doesn’t have this holiday. I looked it up and the only state that observes family day is Arizona and their day is in August.

But…every Sunday, Nathan, the boys, my brother, my parents, and I all get together at my parent’s house and have family lunch and hang out for awhile. When I was a kid we did that with my mom’s parents and now we are continuing the tradition with my parents.

And I don’t think it would be a bad thing for everything to be closed on Sunday’s. Maybe it would help us to all slow down a little and enjoy the things that are most important!

8 | Diane

February 16th, 2009 at 7:41 pm


Sadly I did not have the day off here in NL either. I work at a hospital and though I’m in an office there, we never close.

I liked Sunday’s as well when everything was closed. I also have fond memories of those days when I was a kid. We would go to church together, home for lunch, some music and maybe a little dancing with my sister and then we would go for a drive, usually with a stop for ice cream at a small store. Those were the days!

9 | raino

February 16th, 2009 at 8:07 pm


me and my daughters, my two older sisters and their two kids, my brother, his wife and two kids went down to Jacques Cartier Park to do some sliding, then down to the Rideau Centre for some shopping and then to the rideau canal for some walking and beaver tails. the ice was not in very good shape unfortunately but we all had a great family day!


10 | Shan

February 16th, 2009 at 11:11 pm


We kicked off the family celebrations early and had Grandma come over for a sleepover. We played a board game last night and woke up this morning and watched a movie in our jammies. Then off to visit a friend’s new baby. Was a pretty great day.

11 | Mom on the Go

February 17th, 2009 at 8:55 am


Thanks to a PD day last Friday, we had an extra-long weekend and wrapping it up with Family Day was nice. We went to the Snowflake Kingdom at Jacques Cartier Park first thing, along with hundreds of others, and stopped at the Children’s Museum on the way to the car. It was a lovely way to start the day. We spent some time at home hanging out together and then went to a nearby outdoor rink to skate a bit in the afternoon sun. I didn’t miss the stores, didn’t realize that some museums were closed (not the national ones, surely?), and was glad for the enforced pause in this shortest month that sometimes stretches itself out.

12 | andrea

February 17th, 2009 at 9:12 am


I heard somewhere the museums were closed but I could be wrong. I didn’t even bother looking into it because I wasn’t going to entertain it as an option. Same with the shopping.

We had a pretty nice day too! Now, back to work. :)

13 | DaniGirl

February 17th, 2009 at 9:55 am


Oh! If it weren’t for Lucas’s two hour nap yesterday, we might have bumped into you on your hike! When I messed up the plans for skating on the Canal (long story) I thought a hike would be a great substitute. Figures, the one time I don’t want him to, the baby naps for two hours!! We had a nice play at the local park, at least.

I admit, I’ve been one of the ones kvetching about “Family” day, since I had to give the nanny the day off (with pay!) while Beloved and I each had to take a half day off work to cover it off b/c he works in Qc and I work for the fed gov’t. I like the idea, in principal, but am annoyed that the prov gov’t thinks that one day a year is somehow going to change family behaviours enough to justify the massive inconvenience for so many. Yanno?

14 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Family Day 2019 - a peek inside the fishbowl

February 18th, 2019 at 4:52 pm


[…] was what our Family Day weekend looked like a mere four years ago. We’ve also gone XC skiing, walked in the woods and fed the chickadees. I remember making maple taffy, building snow forts (and making ice cream out of snow too!), and […]

comment form:


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Katie: Thank you for BONGO CAT! I needed that.
  • andrea tomkins: Thank you Jinjer! I'm glad to know you are reading along! :)
  • Jinjer: I read your blog but do so via Feedly so that's why you don't see me as a subscriber and I'm usually in a hurry so I don't comment often, but I do rea
  • andrea tomkins: I am just overwhelmed by the idea of doing a blog export. Most posts I want to keep, but some I don't (eg some contests and giveaways of days gone by)
  • Lynn: So lovely! I have been thinking of doing a post like this - what is life like on a daily basis these days? Where is everyone, and how are they doing?
  • andrea tomkins: Good points!
  • andrea tomkins: We don't, actually! You might be surprised to hear this but the birds are pretty good at landing on the thing without hitting the window. Overall we h

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


Connect with me at these places too!

On the nightstand

All hail the mighty Twitter