Posts Tagged ‘holidays’
The Globe and Mail‘s Robert Everett-Green writes about how the conjunction of two anniversaries, Montréal’s 375th and Canada’s 150th, is set to give Montrealers a memorable year.
On May 18, 1642, a few dozen religious fanatics from France arrived at an island in the St. Lawrence River, held a celebratory mass and declared themselves home. Their goal was to build the New Jerusalem and convert the heathen.
Ville-Marie could have vanished like most utopian settlements, but it became Montreal. Many current residents may have little idea of the town’s original purpose, but lots of Montrealers have reason to be glad the missionaries didn’t reach their destination, say, a year earlier. If they had, Montreal would have lost a convenient overlap between significant anniversaries for their city and the country.
Canada 150 is also Montreal 375, as anyone who lives here can’t fail to know. In public discourse, the two fêtes are like paired runners in a three-legged race: One can’t appear without the other.
The convenience of this is that everyone in town, including federalists and sovereigntists, can feel festive without having to be specific about why. Also, since national celebrations inevitably bring on capital projects, Montreal can count on a double payout for every commemorative jackpot.
Each of the past two significant birthdays for country and city have yielded significant new building projects. For the 1992 celebrations, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts built a new pavilion, the Pointe-à-Callière museum of archeology and history opened its doors near the Old Port and the Musée d’art contemporain moved to its current site at Place des Arts. The McCord Museum had a major expansion, the historic Bonsecours Market reopened and the Montreal Biodome was installed in the former Olympic velodrome. Nineteen sixty-seven, of course, was the year of Expo, the ne plus ultra of overlapping anniversary projects. Expo helped provide the spark for the construction of the Montreal Metro and much else. Most importantly, for a few weeks in the summer, it made Montreal the undisputed centre of Canada, whatever Ottawa and Toronto might think. It also stoked the fever dreams of then-mayor Jean Drapeau, who imagined putting on some kind of international jamboree every five years, continuing with a failed Olympic bid for 1972 – disastrously realized, from a financial point of view, four year later.
The Globe and Mail‘s Ingrid Peritz describes controversy in Montréal over the cost of celebrating the 375th anniversary of the city’s founding. I’m for the idea: Why not celebrate an anniversary of some note? Everyone loves a party.
Montrealers do not need much of an excuse to party, but some are wondering why they are supposed to celebrate when their city turns 375 this year.
The birthday falls awkwardly between a semiseptcentennial (350 years) and a quadricentennial (400 years). The anniversary does not even have a formal name.
Then there’s the cost of the presents, including $39.5-million to illuminate the majestic Jacques Cartier Bridge. At least this gift is scheduled to arrive on time. Others are not expected until Montreal turns 376 or 377.
To boosters, however, staging a full year of celebrations – and spending millions doing it – is a way to lift the city’s spirits.
“It’s true, 375 isn’t a significant number,” admits Alain Gignac, general manager of the Society for the Celebration of Montreal’s 375th Anniversary. “But why not celebrate? We were starting to get used to a kind of gloominess. … We thought, why not mark the moment, give Montreal a little energy and pride, and a sense of belonging to Montrealers so that they can get into the party.”
CBC News’ Taylor Simmons notes that this year marks the 50th anniversary of Kwanzaa.
Zakiya Tafari remembers celebrating his first Kwanzaa over 20 years ago.
“I was introduced to it at a very young age and just found it to be really empowering,” he said.
“There are some guiding principles that really help individuals know who we are as individual black people, what are some of the great things that our ancestry came from and what we need to be doing to move that message forward.”
He sees that continuation in his 12-year-old daughter. This year, she bought a new dashiki, a colourful African garment, to wear during their Kwanzaa celebration.
“It’s really cool to see a kid who grew-up in a different generation from me, who’s very much a modern kid … but she still respects some of her African ancestry and is proud to embrace it.”
The centrepiece of Kwanzaa, according to Tafari, is spending time with each other.
The Toronto Star‘s Azzura Lalani notes the expected huge throngs of shoppers even now crowding Yorkdale.
Toronto shoppers arrived early, armed with game plans and strategies to snag the best Boxing Day deals at the Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
Visitors at Yorkdale were up 50 per cent more on Boxing Day morning compared to last year, said general manager Claire Santamaria. She expects about 120,000 people will visit the mall by the end of the day. A normal Saturday sees about 75,000.
“Boxing Day is our busiest shopping day of the year and it also has our longest hours,” said Santamaria. “The increase in traffic is really pushed by the fact that we have extra shopping hours in the day.”
At the Eaton Centre, where some stores opened as early as 7 a.m., crowds didn’t pick up until later in the morning.
“I think that the pre-Christmas sales in the week leading up were almost the same — there’s maybe an additional 10 per cent off,” said Lisa Madokoro, 30, who bought a dress she’d been eyeing at Club Monaco that was half price.