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Two young daughters giving their mom a card and gift for Mother's Day.

Mother’s Day in Canada is a beautiful way to celebrate and appreciate mothers in your life (mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, and family friends). And it’s a great time to create special memories with children. 

It is a very important and special day for Canadians to show their gratitude and honour mothers in their lives.

The History

Over thousands of years, many traditional celebrations of mothers and motherhood have existed throughout the world. Canada’s Mother’s Day goes back to 1907 when American school teacher Anna Jarvis organized the first Mother’s Day in honour of her own late mother. 

In 1915, this day also became an official holiday in Canada and Canadians have since then celebrated this special day. Mother’s Day is not a public holiday where people get time off work, but it always falls on the second Sunday of May. This year, it’s on Sunday, May 14th, 2023!

Small children create handmade gifts & cards, present their mothers with flowers, and cook special breakfasts on that day. They start learning about this day in kindergarten when teachers help them make gifts and discuss Mother Day’s ideas. 

In Canada, kids usually call their mothers: Mom or Mum, and both spellings are correct. The American version of “Mom” is predominant, but the British version “Mum” is common as well. And of course, there are Mama, Maman, Mommy, and Mumzee, all the variations reflecting Canadian diversity. 

Grown-up children spend some quality time together with their mothers to make this day special. There is no one-size-fits-all recipe, everything depends on family traditions.

Mother's Day in Canada

My Experience

Immigrant parents do not have it easy, especially once their children start school in Canada. Trying to figure out the school system and learning school rules both spoken and unspoken, helping their children with homework, and trying to make their friends welcome at home. All this adds to the challenges of the first few years of getting settled in Canada.

When I immigrated 15 years ago my children started their first school year. I was totally overwhelmed with school & social requirements, parent responsibilities, helping kids to get through each day, and trying to make their transition to the new country as smooth as possible.

Not all countries celebrate Mother’s Day, or they celebrate it differently.

I came from Europe where the closest holiday was International Women’s Day on the 8th of March when all women get flowers and children present their mothers with flowers and cards as well.

My First Mother’s Day

How wonderful and sweet was my first Mother’s Day. My children made beautiful cards for me and attempted to make a special breakfast too. I was very touched as any mom would be. 

There have been many Mother’s Day celebrations since then. My children have grown up, so these days we spend Mother’s Day doing something special together. We’ll go on a hike, visit the Art gallery, or have a picnic on one of Vancouver’s beaches, weather permitting. They still make beautiful cards for me which I treasure. 

Also being a daughter, I adopted this tradition myself and every year I spend some special time with my mother who lives in Europe on Skype on that day. And my mother thinks this is the kindest tradition reflecting Canadian culture and the importance of family ties.

For immigrant mothers, this celebration has one more meaning.  Being a part of Canada’s life and integrating successfully into society, their hard job as a parent is appreciated as much as any mother’s job in Canada. That is certainly a great feeling. 

Wishing all mothers out there a happy Mother’s Day! Be part of this beautiful tradition and create special memories with your children and with the mothers in your life.

Mother hugging her daughter and holding a bouquet of pink roses for Mother's Day.

For information, tools, and free webinars about living in Canada, visit our Settling in Canada resource page. We’ll help you to settle in Canada with confidence and ease!