Take note, fellow citizens, May 12 is Manitoba Day – let’s all celebrate, with pride and joy, our 147th birthday

Take note, fellow citizens, May 12 is Manitoba Day – let’s all celebrate, with pride and joy, our 147th birthday

Two dates to mark on your calendar: May 12, the day proclaimed as Manitoba Day in perpetuity in this province; and May 6, the day set for Manitoba’s biggest celebration of Manitoba Day this year – on the prior Saturday when Manitobans customarily have time to celebrate.

Last year, more than 10,000 of us turned out at the Manitoba Museum, the co-ordinator of Manitoba Day activities – its main public event – and broke its historic attendance record. The hopes are the numbers will be even bigger in 2017. Around the province, a broad range of organizations and many municipalities will have their own celebrations.

May 12 has a multi-layered meaning in Manitoba’s history. The Manitoba Act, a creation of the British parliament, received Royal Assent on May 12, 1870. Our official flag was raised May 12, 1966. In 1966, May 12 was named as Manitoba Day in perpetuity, in recognition of the importance of that date for the province.

In the province’s legislature on that date, Premier Howard Pawley told assembly members the date “provides a special opportunity for recognizing and paying tribute to artistic and ethnocultural communities which enhance the quality of life in Manitoba.” It is in the public interest, he said, that “special attention be given on this day to Manitoba’s history and development, to the achievements of her citizens in the visual, literary and performing arts, and to their outstanding contribution to our province.”

It has been noted that even in more modern times, many Manitobans have yet to hear about Manitoba Day. It is notable, too, that the anniversary date was celebrated long before It became a permanent feature on provincial calendars; premiers were issuing Manitoba Day proclamations urging citizens here to mark the day; a handful of communities were staging festivities. As far back as Montreal’s Expo 67, a local delegation was on hand in the east – on Sept. 2 – to promote the Manitoba Day.

So show up May 6 at some great party place, enjoy and learn and remember March 12 – Manitoba Day – in perpetuity.

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