Thursday, July 1, 2010

Canada Day 2010

I did not mark Canada Day last year when my blog was in its infancy because I was, ironically enough, hanging out in the home country.  London, that is, the one in England, not the one in Ontario.  As a displaced American in Canada, what does Canada Day mean to me?  Besides not getting the newspaper since they skip holidays up here (or at least the daily paper we receive does)?  Moving.  That's right.  I am pretty sure that if and when I move back to the US, my first thoughts on July 1st every year will not relate to Canada and the Queen, but rather to the strangest government regulation/cultural norm I have experienced.

It seems that leases in Montreal all die on June 30th. so that this is the day that many, many people (4% of the population according to wiki) move.  So much so that it distorts the entire moving industry of Canada and the northeast US.  And the funny thing is that Quebec/Montreal set this date on a day where the government of Canada is closed since it is Canada Day, the anniversary of the day Canada was recognized as a single country.  Yes, apparently, the idea was put forth by a federalist so that kids would not have to move in the middle of the school year, but why one day?  Why this day?  Apparently, there is not entirely the fault of the government, as the original date was a single date, but the July 1st date was less of a requirement and suggested more of a range, but the cultural norms seemed to fix on just one day. 

Yes, it is apparently now a common expectation than a requirement, although it always seems like a requirement when the day passes.  So, we cannot entirely blame the one-size-fits-all philosophy of Quebec government (we can blame the construction holiday of mid-summer where all construction workers get the exact same two weeks off, leading to huge traffic jams at the borders on the start and finish of this break).  Still, it might be good government policy to try to spread out when leases turnover so that the entire city/province/moving industry is not trying to move on the same day.

So, even if I move away (as a home-owner, I can pick my day, and it neither be July 1st or at the beginning or end of the construction holiday) from Canada, I will remember on every July 1st not maple trees or syrup, nor moose and beavers, but rather frustrated apartment dwellers and moving companies profiting due to this strange tradition.

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