June 18th, 2021

City Notebook: What a difference an extra week would make

By Medicine Hat News Opinion on May 29, 2021.


This year there was a great flash of debate about abolishing the Monarchy after Gov.-Gen. Julie Payette resigned her duties and our Constitutional monarchy became theoretically rudderless.

However, the ever-practical, but ever-bothered Canadian public realizes opening the Constitution to make a republic a reality is probably not worth the headache.

But if Canadians really are ever-practical, why not start this conversation about national identity with something a little more simple?

Perhaps, maybe, something like moving Victoria Day from the third Monday in May to the fourth?

In Medicine Hat, this year’s holiday featured rain and a high of 13C. This coming Monday’s call is for 29C and sunny.

That’s hardly a scientific sample, but it’s obvious an extra seven days would give a better chance for more Canadians to avoid snow, camp in comfort, save our gardens and maybe relax.

But there’s no need to stand on history or protocol, because the British don’t.

The Canadian May holiday was essentially born from the British tradition of having a bank holiday on the monarch’s birthday.

In Canada, Victoria Day is observed on the Monday prior to May 25 (Queen Victoria was born on May 24, the day Britons got off during her rule).

In the modern British practise, this means Elizabeth II has two birthday’s (hers and the statutory holiday on a Monday in mid-June).

Her great-grandfather, King Edward VII, was a November baby, but June has better parade weather, so that was that.

So, why exactly are we taking a day off work to freeze in a tent or beat wet snow off our lilacs?

Springs steps

There was a moment long ago when the term “breaking” was no longer needed in a long list of cancellations related to the pandemic, and aren’t we all a little skeptical about pronouncements about this being the best summer ever?

Yet, there’s some evidence that spring has sprung and better days, more traditional events are just over the horizon.

A real skeptic would note here that Step 1 of the province’s reopening plan, which starts Monday, only brings Albertans back to regulations and capacity levels from early May, before new measures addressed the third-wave in the province.

Still, we’re moving toward greater leeway and that should include a lot of “breaking news” about what’s on again.

A look ahead

The Medicine Hat Stampede hopes to have its weekend farmer’s market back up and running on June 3, and the grounds will also be the site of Canada Day celebrations in a month or so.

100 years ago

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Dill “looking fit and well” arrived in Medicine Hat on their way to the Pacific coast 120 days after they began walking from their home in Nova Scotia, the News reported in late May 1921.

The effort, sponsored by the Halifax Herald, was essentially a race, and a father and son duo passed through the Hat four days earlier in first place. This led to speculation the gap was closing in the final stages.

All grain was “above ground and growing” after heavy rains in in the region. Work on the Porter Hill road was set to begin.

Local Liberals resolved not to run a candidate in the coming byelection to replace deceased MP A.E. Sifton and rather concentrate on a general election expected next winter. Nelson Spencer would stand as the Conservative candidate, and local labour leaders vowed support for United Farmers candidate Robert Gardiner.

Three log drives would be staged in Edmonton this summer, the first that far east on the North Saskatchewan River since 1914.

Work on the Detroit-Windsor Bridge began with the timeline for the 1,770-foot span estimated at six years.

In Illinois, a fox terrier was successfully parachuted from an aeroplane as an experiment to prove canines could carry important messages when landing conditions were unfavourable.

Collin Gallant covers city politics, business and a variety of topics for the News. Reach him at 403-528-5664 of via email at cgallant@medicinehatnews.com

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