The holiday formerly known as Victoria Day has long gone by a more apt nickname in many parts of the country.
To a good number of Canadians, this weekend is known as The May Two-Four.
That’s after the beloved case of beer at the heart of the many weekend traditions and celebrations.
Call me a hoser, but I kinda like the change.
Unlike Queen Victoria, we are, in fact, amused.
For years, rumour had it that May 24 was not Queen Victoria’s birthday at all, and that her name just got applied to the first picnicking and cottaging weekend of the season, way back when.
You can see where that rumour might have arisen: it’s a Victorian sensibility to wrap any conceivable pleasure in the language of loyalty to the royal house of Saxe-Cobourg, as represented by Her Majesty.
Heaven forbid people should just have fun for fun’s sake.
But May 24 really was Queen Victoria’s birthday, and it’s been a holiday here in Canada since before Confederation. It’s now meant to commemorate the birthday of the current ruler of Canada, in this case, Elizabeth II, who was not born on May 24th.
Still, today we’re less likely to spend a holiday weekend lying back and thinking of England. (Especially in Quebec, where the holiday is known as National Patriot’s Day, or the Maritimes, where it’s a federal holiday but not a statutory one, which means not everyone gets Monday off. That’s a royal rip!)
In fact, we mostly don’t think about royalty at all, even when we’re gawking at the traditional fireworks displays. Instead, we typically spend the weekend kicking back and thinking of cool refreshing suds, a breath of fresh air and a taste of the great outdoors. All of which suits me fine.
Have a safe one – this is often a nasty weekend for drownings and car accidents.
Bur crown the weekend with a couple of cold ones too, if you’re not driving, and of age, and all that.
It’s the Canadian way, eh?
(Photo: Warren Toda/Toronto Sun)