The August Long Weekend Monday
In my capacity as a fill-in editorial cartoonist for the Toronto Star I thought I'd do the above cartoon as a local treat.
They don't call today Simcoe day around these parts of the Golden Horseshoe. In Hamilton it's just known as Civic Day. They might as well just do what they do in the U.K. and call a day like this one a Bank holiday Monday. Actually, two provinces and one territory do not recognize it at all, and five other provinces do not oblige employers to offer holiday pay on this day, thus making it a civic holiday in the legal sense.
There's not much information about the August holiday Monday on the Internet. I woke up Saturday morning to CBC radio chit chat and it seems all of the trivia about the holiday came from Craig Martlatt's very informative website. In other parts of the province there are different names for today's holiday:
1869 - Toronto City Council originated a midsummer holiday for a "day of recreation".
1871 - A Bank Holiday was established by the House of Commons in England. Sir John Lubbock declared that Toronto in Canada had found an August holiday "advisable and satisfactory."
1875 - Perhaps after the precedent set by Sir John Lubbock, Toronto City Council fixed the first Monday in August as a Civic Holiday.
1968 - Toronto City Council officially called the civic holiday "Simcoe Day" after Major-General John Graves Simcoe, who was appointed the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada on September 12th, 1791. He convened the first Legislative Assembly and established York (now Toronto) as the capital of the province. One of his crowning achievements was to begin the phasing out of slavery in Upper Canada, which officially ended in 1810 – 23 years before it was abolished in the British Empire and 55 years before the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States.
1980 - Burlington celebrates the holiday as "Joseph Brant Day." Joseph Brant was a Mohawk Chief who became known for his treaty negotiations and loyalty to the British.
1982 - The City of Brantford adopted a policy that stated that the civic holiday be named "Founders' Day". Each year, the Brantford Heritage Committee submits a report to City Council with the name or organization that is to be recognized on that day.
1983 - Oshawa City Council passed a resolution to recognize the holiday as "McLaughlin Day" in honour of the late Colonel R.S. McLaughlin, who brought General Motors to Oshawa. See Parkwood Estate and Oshawa - still motoring after 75 years.
1996 - The City of Ottawa passed a by-law proclaiming the Civic Holiday as "Colonel By Day". John By (1779-1836) was a British Lieutenant-Colonel and military engineer. His most noteworthy achievement was the building of the Rideau Canal and Bytown (now Ottawa) was named after him.
1998 - Sarnia City Council passed a resolution declaring the holiday "Alexander Mackenzie Day". The Honourable Alexander Mackenzie was Canada's second Prime Minister from 1873-1878.
1999 - The Town of Cobourg proclaimed the holiday as "James Cockburn Day". James Cockburn was a father of Confederation and represented the riding of Northumberland West in the Legislative Assembly of Canada, 1861-67.
I'm surprised Hamilton hasn't renamed this day. In time I'll bet there'll be a number of potential candidates: Lincoln Alexander, Sheila Copps, Bob Morrow...Boris Brott Day... Elizabeth Bagshaw day... uggh. Been down this road before.