Friday, July 31, 2009

Simcoe Says Relax

I passed on writing a fist-raising Canada Day post, mostly because it seemed obvious. However - in the spirit of the upcoming long weekend, I'll totaly give props to this country, not least because some of us will be celebrating Simcoe Day on Monday, and the rest of us will be lazing around on the straightforwardly-named "Civic Holiday." Apparently, the whole point of the dopily named but in-practice dope day off is to "not work." Which is terrific.

Frankly, this whole multiple-named day tickles me pink. I love the day off in summer. I love the constellation of local names for it. Show those colours, Guelph! Or, conversely, Oshawa! (John Galt Day and McLaughlin Day, respectively. Guelph's John Galt is apparently not the Objectivist jerk-off, however. He seems to be the author behind such page-turners as "Ringan Gilhaize" and epics like "The Wandering Jew," a classic somewhere, I'm sure. ) I'd like to have Kochany Day, the hard-to-pronounce but awesome day of "not working" that occurs weekly, on Wednesdays.

Canada's not ultra-commited to leisure the way those frisky Europeans are, but we do okay. We have that mostly-useless "Family Day" in February, where people can sit, cabin-fevered, in their dark, cold home and think about how much they love their family. We have Civic Holiday. Thankgsiving is nice, especially since it's not linked with some obnoxious sporting ritual like it is Down There. I also enjoy the vast amounts of time off I receive as student: Reading Week? Okay!

Where was I? Oh, right: vacations are awesome. Summer vacations are the best. Remember back to when you were a kid, and summer break seemed like a freaking lifetime? I always secretly worried that I wouldn't recognize my classmates when I went back to school. Summer months seemed like huge blocks of time. I got to spend childhood summers in a cottage town - no phone, no internet, no television. Instead, it was glory days of swimming, running around like a maniac, and begging my parents to take us down to the trampolines. It was a great big beach and one of the Great Lakes, it was Christian day camp and trips to the library. It was so nice.

I seriously think one of the greatest gifts a Canadian parent can give to his/her offspring is that of the Canadian summer. After toughing out a brutal winter - and seriously, no matter where you live in Canada, winters are big, sucky messes - Canada is a supermodel, tossing off all that freahwater and flirting with heat waves. Even if you're city bound, most places have at least one decent park: Stanley, High, Mount Royal, or Point Pleasant, not to mention all the zoos, beaches, trails, rivers, and campsites that extend into suburbia and beyond. Even if you're landlocked in Edmonton, you can still enjoy dragging your children around one the historical sites that litter the nation.

It would be a travesty to not enjoy the natural and urban splendors that we have such ready access to, especially on one of those precious vacation days. So get out there! Grab the Subaru or the CCM and play outside! Lord Simcoe would be pleased.

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