A look at New Brunswick's 1st Family Day

Many people in New Brunswick spent their Family Day with loved ones, relaxing or outdoors enjoying the nice weather.

The new holiday, announced last spring, falls on the 3rd Monday of February

From left: Eleonore, Marine and Aurelien Barmat took their dog Fidji out for a skate on the first Family Day in the province. (Joe Tunney/CBC)

It's New Brunswick's first Family Day and many people are using the mid-winter holiday to do exactly what the name suggests: Spend time with their families.  

The new holiday, which takes place on the third Monday of February, was announced by the Liberal government in April 2017.

For Donnie Cornford, it was a long time coming.

"I think it's a great idea," he said. "It's about time we joined in."

The Family Day holiday is celebrated in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. British Columbia celebrates it on the second Monday of February.

For many, New Brunswick's first Family Day was a chance to relax and spend quality time with loved ones. (Joe Tunney/CBC)

Cornford said there is a huge gap between New Year's Day and the Easter holiday.

"People are kind of tired of the winter time and are tired of working through it, and it's a nice break."

Cornford said he and his family took the opportunity to sleep in.

"We're just going to veg out for the day," he said. 

Skating on the lake

Some people in Saint John spent their day skating around Lily Lake Pavilion.

Amelia Currie, 8, said she loves being able to speed skate with her dad, Kevin.

Eight-year-old Amelia and her dad, Kevin Currie, were at Lily Lake Pavilion on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, for some ice hockey. (Joe Tunney/CBC)

David Valiquette and his two kids, Maria and Drew, were also out on the ice, sharing some quality time.

Maria said if she was able to make a holiday, it would be about pizza.

"How it's really good and yummy," she said.

Drew said he would make a holiday about doughnuts.

"They taste good," he said, adding his favourite flavour is chocolate.

Amy Sirois and Tiffany Law figured they shoot some pucks around for the holiday.

Amy Sirois, left, and Tiffany Law figured they shoot around some hockey pucks for the holiday. (Joe Tunney/CBC)

Sirois is a teacher and said it was nice to have the extra day off.

Both of them said if they could make their own holiday, it would have something to do with hockey.

Marine, Aurelien and Eleonore Barmat brought their dog Fidji to the frozen lake.

David Valiquette and his two kids, Drew and Maria, spent Family Day 2018 skating at Lily Lake. The kids had their own ideas for special holidays. (Joe Tunney/CBC )

"This morning, we woke up at 10, so that was pretty cool," said Marine. "I can spend good time with my family — something I don't get to do during the week."

Unwinding and catching up

Jamie Spriggs, who previously lived and went to school in Fredericton, also took the day to unwind.

The St. Thomas University graduate is currently a teacher in Manitoba. While she wasn't able to spend the holiday in New Brunswick, she said she is glad her family in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia can now enjoy a day off.

"I experienced this holiday living in other provinces," she said via email. "It is an opportunity to have a long weekend together during a long, cold stretch of the year."

Spriggs said the extra day is allowing her to prepare for this week's classes. And she's not alone in spending it catching up on things.

Mark Noel, who lives in Oromocto, said this holiday is a big thing for New Brunswick.

"I think it's nice; it breaks up the winter," he said.

With files from Joe Tunney