Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Victoria Day - What's in a name?

I'm sure some blogger out there has given us a history of Victoria Day in Canada. Elizabeth May might want to read it. The Quebec version, over at Charlevoix makes for excellent reading on the decidedly different May holiday long weekend traditions. Not for the Quebecois a royalist holiday... (Of course, my English mother-in-law, currently in Canada, is equally perplexed at the idea of a holiday for Victoria.)

As for Elizabeth May: she has recently drawn a bit of attention by suggesting that we should rename the Canadian holiday in May as 'Victoria and First Peoples' Day'. Her heart is in the right place. It's hard, though, to imagine a less historical idea. Surely one of the points of having these holidays is that they remind us of the past. We already have plenty of politically safe holidays like Ontario's generic 'family day'. A country with history is supposed to have bizarre traditions, relics of the past the dot the calendar for reasons no one can quite recall. It's the calendar equivalent of a street-scape dotted with buildings from several different historical periods. That's called 'having history'. Not everything is the same. History ought not to be a suburb.

Oh, and someone should tell Ms May that there is already a National Aboriginal Day. If Elizabeth May wants to make that an official holiday, I imagine she'd have many more people behind her.

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