Though a lot of people associate the Civic Holiday with another day away from work, it’s come to be so much more than that. Celebrated the first Monday in August, the Civic Holiday is notorious for summer gatherings, picnics, and BBQ’s. And with right reason. This day is to recognize and celebrate our diverse cultural heritage, our communities, and our rights and duties as citizens.
In Ontario many communities use this day to celebrate a historical founding figure and a wide array of names are designated to it. Torontonians have deemed the day as Simcoe Day after John Graves Simcoe, the founder of the town of York which later became Toronto. In the nation’s capital, August 1st is known as Colonel By Day in recognition of Bytown – later Ottawa – founder, John By, who we also have to thank for leading the construction of the Rideau Canal. The day is known as John Galt Day in Guelph, Joseph Brant day in Burlington, and Alexander MacKenzie day in Sarnia, but these are just a few. A number of smaller municipalities have their own names and for those that don’t the day remains the ‘Civic Holiday.’
That’s not to say that only historical figures deserve recognition for the development and sustainment of our communities. We should take the day to remember and celebrate those who have played important roles in building our communities like our family members, friends, volunteers and small businesses who play vital roles every day. It’s important that we acknowledge and keep supporting them. A great way to do that is to buy local to sustain our communities. Buying local isn’t as hard as it may sound and it reaps many benefits, like keeping jobs and local cultures alive – and let’s be honest – we all love farmer’s markets.
The civic holiday could be one of the most important holidays for this reason. But somehow it isn’t yet a statutory holiday in Canada and a lot of people don’t get the day off unless they specifically request it. It’s definitely worth making the Civic Holiday a statutory holiday so that everyone, not only government and big-company workers, get the day off. If anyone says that Canada has enough statutory holidays as it is, urge them to take a look at other countries.
Austria, France, and Sweden are among many other countries that have more statutory holidays than Canada. But these three also happen to have a higher happiness rating than Canada. This could make one wonder if there is any correlation between their happiness rating and the amount of statutory holidays they have.
Something else to consider is whether or not the amount of holidays affects productivity. It might just be a coincidence that the three countries named above also happen to rank higher on a scale of productivity per hours worked than Canada, but then again it might not…
However, I think the most important thing here is not to worry about stats and ratings, but to think about what we’re celebrating. The Civic Holiday is a day to celebrate what we have accomplished together.
With that in mind I hope you enjoy the long weekend.