As a native New Brunswicker, identity politics are nothing new. We are a miniature province that harbours staunch cultural affiliations (Check out la Fête Nationale des Acadiens). That said, Canada day seems to be that one time where we gather waterfront, crack open a beer, and just enjoy.
Now, as a proud implanted Montrealer, I couldn’t help but make a few little observations on this day of national celebration. Here is my top 5 list of the ways that I’ve noted Montreal does things… a little different.
1. Canada Day, A.K.A. “Moving Day”
Canada Day shares the limelight with moving day here in Quebec. It’s a national day of celebration and a provincial day of pandemonium. Pizza and beer are more likely reserved for your movers than drop-in neighbours. If you decide take to the streets with flags in hand, keep your eyes especially peeled for U-Hauls and falling mattresses.
2. Prudent Patriotism
Celebrating provincial or national pride seems to be slightly more political here in Quebec. We aren’t going to get into the debate on this jovial post, but needless to say, parading through certain parts of the city with maple leaves painted on my face might cause a little friction. Often, most are too busy lifting couches to bother thinking twice, but flags do seem to weigh a little bit more here.
3. National parade takes backseat to provincial
Montreal loves its parades. We take to the streets at almost every opportunity we get. The Canada day parade in Montreal is no exception. Notably, the national parade seems slightly less extravagant than the provincial one. Not taking any sides, as I happily attend both, but it’s an interesting observation, and is certainly not the case back in tiny New Brunswick.
4. We can get jazzy with it
In Montreal, we have the great privilege of summers packed with free, outdoors festivals. The jazz festival pulls thousands internationally and happens to overlap with Canada Day. Being distinctly Montreal, we have the option to partake in an internationally renowned jazz festival to top off our Canada Day routine. I don’t hate it!
5. Old Port fireworks
And now for the grand finale. Few things can compare to the grandeur that is an Old Port firework display. In one of the most beautiful and historic areas of the city, we have the option to witness an extravagant light show. Coming from someone who grew up lighting fireworks on the beach (sorry Mother), it’s hard to put into words the magnitude of this fireworks show. Consider ourselves lucky!
However you choose to celebrate July 1st, have fun, stay safe, and if you’re part of the madness, all the best carrying that couch (the one you probably should have just gotten rid of) up those spiral staircases.