Happy Simcoe Day, everyone!
Since those of us with cottages get to stay at them an extra day this weekend, I figure we should at least take a moment to understand why. And thanks to Craig Marlatt’s helpful page on the subject, I can tell you this:
- Toronto City Council came up with the idea of a midsummer holiday in 1869, beating England to the inauguration of their national bank holiday by two years.
- In 1969, two anagrams later, it was officially renamed “Simcoe Day” after Major-General John Graves Simcoe (above), who among other things helped to abolish slavery in this country, almost a quarter-century before the Brits and more than fifty years before the Emancipation Proclamation in the States.
- Though most of Canada has the day off—sorry Québec—the holiday goes by different names in different provinces. As a matter of fact, the “Simcoe Day” moniker only applies to the city of Toronto proper.
So if you’re outside the GTA today you can avoid any faux pas by honouring the local excuse to skip off work and drink beer.