Canada Day, the business

Who knew? I tend to avoid traveling on long weekends. Too crowded at airports and train stations, way too much traffic on the roads, too manycanadaday delays, too much stress and frustration. Instead, I stay home and revel in all the deserted streets.

So I had no idea just how good for business long weekends, and Canada Day in particular, can be.

Last Thursday, the day before the official start to Canada’s 149th birthday party, I went grocery shopping;
assuming, incorrectly, that the stores would be closed Continue reading

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Day 362. No Biggie

3When I went to bed on Thursday night nothing felt different.  Same thing when I woke up yesterday morning.  I was meeting a former caribanacolleague for coffee, and my cleaning lady was coming, so I quickly packed up my computer and left for Starbucks.

Nothing unusual.

What was unusual, though, was how quiet it was in there.  At Starbucks.

It’s always crazy busy.  There was no line up of people waiting to order their coffee.  No crowd waiting for their lattes and cappuccinos and breakfast sandwiches and bagels to be made.  You could have your pick of seats.  In fact, there were only a couple of people in there.

Surprised, I checked my watch.  It was 9:15.  I’ve been in there much earlier and it’s been a struggle to find Continue reading

Day 28. Celebrating Workers

Labour Day.  For some it means nothing more than a long weekend, a Monday off from work.  For others, it signals the end of summer, an official return to the daily   grind.  For kids, it’s back to school (groan).  For Canadians, it’s also the last long weekend before Thanksgiving, which begins the countdown to Christmas.

How we’ll spend the day, is different for everyone.  Those who spent the weekend away from home are probably heading back.  They could be packing up their cars, preparing for their long drives home as I write this.  Or in long lines, waiting to go through airport security, or board trains and busses.  Others are packing up cottages.  Lots of us will hang out in our backyards, sharing a beer or two with friends and family.

We’ll play tennis and golf.  Swim, sail and water ski.  We’ll read.  Listen to music.  Go to amusement parks and flea markets and county fairs. Nap.  And we’ll take advantage of all the special Labour Day sales at many stores.

But for many members of the work force —  those who protect, serve and care for us — like doctors and nurses, police and fire fighters, emergency workers, taxi and transit drivers, retailers, restaurateurs and more, it’s not a holiday at all.  For them it’s just another day at the office.

Being as curious as I am, I decided to spend an hour or two of my Labour Day, researching the history of the holiday.  What I’ve found is kind of interesting.  To begin with, Labour Day is celebrated in many countries around the world:  Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cuba, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Sweden, Middle East, Trinidad and Tobago — and, Continue reading