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Civic Holiday is justified, Yellowknifers say

Charlotte Hilling
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, August 5, 2009

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - What do Labour Day, Canada Day, and Christmas Day have in common?

First, they usually result in a day off. Second, they all commemorate something. However, Civic Holiday - celebrated on the first Monday of August every year - seems to be a day off just for day's off sake.

Asked what they thought about Civic Holiday's apparent lack of commemorative qualities, Yellowknifers were unsurprisingly blase about the whole thing - kindly answering questions as they lounged on the beach, frolicked in the water, and led their dogs down warm asphalt lanes.

"It's a holiday! It doesn't matter what it's for, as long as we get one," said beach-goer Debbie Rendell. "We need a long weekend every month."

Her daughter Teegan agreed, enjoying a spot of camping and swimming over the long weekend. "You don't need an excuse," she said.

Looking forward to a day of wakeboarding and merriment, Thys Hoeve said there were people and events that could be recognized on Civic Holiday, but he was not losing sleep over the issue as long as he got a day off.

"There are people that could be commemorated, but everyone needs a break," he said.

His brother Nathan Hoeve said the idea of having a day off for the sake of a break was "cool," but he did have some suggestions for people who could be celebrated on Civil Holiday.

"There could be something for every soldier and police officer in this country. They don't get recognized enough."

When asked if a day off was enough of a reason for sleep-ins and slothing en masse, Brendan Matthews was completely behind the policy.

"Absolutely, any excuse," he said. "If anything, it should be "break from winter day." We have such a long winter here, so we should celebrate the summer."

And the poor souls who had to work on Monday? They could not be reached for comment. Many could only be heard hissing bitterly as they toiled away in their workplaces.

Something akin to Civic Holiday is observed throughout much of the country, with only the NWT, Nunavut, and Manitoba calling it "Civic Holiday."

Other cities and towns use the day to recognize a raft of different events or people. In Alberta, for example, it is pronounced "Heritage Day," while in North York, Ont. it is known as "Mountie Day."