Today is "August Civic Holiday" in Canada. This particular day has always fascinated me as -- if I understand the concept correctly -- it is a day off for Canadian workers simply because it's the first Monday in August.
That's probably not completely correct as I know that some provinces don't recognize the holiday and other places don't grant workers a paid day off. But if someone, somewhere in Canada has the day off because it's the August Civic Holiday, then that is totally, totally cool. And the U.S. needs a random day like that.
It's small items like this that intrigue me about Canada.
If you were to ask me what I like about Canada, I could come up with the cliche answer -- the people are nice, they know how to play hockey, it's a good place to ski, there's free public health care.
But I tend to find things more obscure like the August Civic Holiday.
A few other things about Canada that I like:
1. O-Pee-Chee, of course. Especially 1970s O-Pee-Chee. Mr. Horton here is an excellent example.
2. Hockey Night in Canada.The only thing that's bad about it is NBC has come up with something called "Football Night in America" and Fox has come up with the equally unoriginal "Baseball Night in America." Gee, I wonder where they got that idea? Unfortunately, "Hockey Night" sounds cool. The other stuff just sounds clunky and awkward.
3. It's freakishly clean. Anytime I'm in in Canada, it's the first thing I notice (and the second thing I notice is, gosh, I haven't seen a person for miles). Then, when I go back home, the second I get over the border, it's like driving into a garbage dump. We're pigs.
4. Tim Hortons. Yeah, I know, they're absolutely everywhere now. But back in the '80s, there was one Tim Hortons in the United States. It was in suburban Buffalo. I used to go there. And it was like a portal of Canadian donuts had opened up right where I lived just for me.
5. Driving. OK, certain parts of the QEW will shorten your lifespan. But other than that, I have gotten totally lost in both Montreal and Toronto and figured my way back without losing my life, my car, my money or even breaking a sweat. Not a single tear shed.
6. Maple candy. This is pretty much off-limit these days, but maple candy is one of the few food items that could put me in a coma.
7. Canadian women. I can't go into detail about this at all. All I'll say is April 22, 1998 and Nova Scotia.
8. The Toronto Blue Jays (and, when they were around, the Montreal Expos). For the last 20-plus years, it's been much easier for me to get to a Canadian city to watch an MLB game than to get to an American city. I can't say that anymore because of the current border-crossing hassles. But I sure enjoyed it while I could.
9. Canadian TV. I just mentioned this in the last post (yeah, I'm on a Canada kick). It really only applies when the Olympics are on. But I don't know of a single person in my city that watches the Olympics on American television. Not when we all receive CTV on our basic cable.
10. It's just different enough. I found this out when I went to college in Buffalo. I'd search for radio stations that were different from the same old stuff they were playing in the mid-1980s. "That's What Friends Are For" or something else awful. I found several stations out of Toronto that played alternative Canadian rock and it was awesome. It opened up a whole new avenue to me, and to this day, I still have some of those '80s Canadian bands on my ipod.
So enjoy your civic holiday today. That is if you get it off. You deserve it.
Hell, I deserve it, too. I'm only 20 minutes away.
Night Card Binder candidate: Willie Horton, 1979 O-Pee-Chee, #252
Does it make the binder?: Easily.