Monday, August 01, 2005

A Day Off About Nothing

Today is the August civic holiday Monday. This holiday commemorates absolutely nothing except the great idea of having a holiday weekend halfway through summer.

It is the perfect Canadian and post-modern holiday, devoid as it is of all religious or historical significance. Because it celebrates nothing in particular, no one could possibly be offended by its status as a public holiday.

Yet many of our civic fathers (mothers, parental units, etc.) feel that a day off about nothing is somehow an affront to our work ethic and sense of civic pride; thus they have given it a multitude of names in honour of various persons or events that otherwise would have gone unhonoured.

Today in Toronto, it is Simcoe Day, in honour of Sir John Graves Simcoe, founder of Toronto and first governor of Upper Canada.

In Ottawa, it is Colonel By day, also for the capital founder's and builder of the Rideau Canal.

Sarnia honours its most famous native son, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Prime Minister from 1873-1878.

Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and British Columbia have named the day for their provinces, while Nova Scotians celebrate Natal Day.

Yet most people could not care less about the official holiday name; it is the August long weekend, the holiday about nothing but itself, the holiday whose existence precedes its essence.

Happy Nothing Day!

Source: Craig Marlatt

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