Boxing Day in Canada

Boxing Day in Canada Falls on December 26th and is a Public Holiday.

Eaton Centre largest shopping mall in downtown Toronto full of people on Boxing day in 2011. Ontario, Canada
Oleksiy Maksymenko / Getty Images

The day after Christmas, December 26th, is a public (or statutory) holiday called Boxing Day across Canada. This means it is basically a day off for everyone and if you have to go to work, you should be paid time and a half. 

Boxing Day: What Does it Mean?

Several theories exist on how Boxing Day got its name. It may come from a tradition in the U.K. in which household employers boxed gifts for their servants. One thing is for certain, the name comes from storage boxes, not the sport. However, you may witness enthusiastic shoppers coming to blows over Boxing Day bargains. Boxing Day, like the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, in the U.S. is THE big shopping day in Canada. Stores, malls and most retailers are open and generally continue until New Year's. Many, but not all, restaurants stay open to feed hungry shoppers.

Boxing Day: What to Buy

Some of the most popular items to put on your Boxing Day shopping list include electronics, Christmas decorations, appliances, children's toys, and winter clothing. Christmas-related items especially will be heavily discounted during Boxing Day sales in Canada as stores need to clear out remaining items. So this is a good day to restock wrapping paper, lights, decorations, etc. so you're ready for next year's festivities. Winter clothing (coats, hats, boots, etc.) is also a good thing to focus on, since many retailers will want to start making room for spring items.

Participating Canadian retailers include Best Buy (technology/electronics), Walmart (everything from toys to small appliances), and Winners (clothing). But any store open Boxing Day will have a sale of some kind to entice shoppers looking to save some money.

In terms of making the most of this day of deals, it's a good idea to prepare in advance and think about what you want to focus your shopping time on. If you plan on hitting a few destinations, plan out a route and start the day early. For many shoppers, Boxing Day is an opportunity to buy things they already need, but want to save money on, rather than a day just to browse.

With the advent of online shopping, retailers now offer Boxing Day savings in advance of December 26th and continue sales on until the New Year. This may take the thrill out of the actual Boxing Day event, but people show up en masse nevertheless. 

What Does Boxing Day Mean for Visitors?

  • Banks, schools, government offices are closed.
  • Stores, malls and retailers are packed. Grease up those elbows and arrive early for the best Boxing Day deals.
  • Call ahead to restaurants or tourist attractions to confirm holiday hours, but most are open.
  • Public transportation probably runs on holiday schedule.

Boxing Day Dates

  • 2019: Thursday, December 26
  • 2020:Saturday, December 26
  • 2021: Sunday, December 26
  • 2022: Monday, December 26
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