So, Queensborough people, were you by any chance wondering what the deuce was up today with the new flag at the Manse? (Come on, I know you must have noticed.) The Ontario flag that Raymond and I normally fly over the front porch was, today, replaced with the Quebec flag, le fleurdelisé. Do you know why?
No, it’s not because we’ve suddenly got horribly homesick for the province that we called home for many years (in Raymond’s case, many, many years). We like Quebec very much, but we are extremely happy to be here in Ontario. No, it was because today, June 24, is Quebec’s Fête Nationale, its provincewide holiday, St. Jean Baptiste Day. It’s a day when everything comes to a halt in Quebec (i.e. almost all stores and businesses are closed, save for dépanneurs, convenience stores). It’s a nice time in Quebec, because exactly a week after la Saint-Jean comes July 1, another holiday (one that I, being an old fogey, prefer to call Dominion Day rather than the hard-to-say Canada Day) – and let me tell you, a lot of people take the time between the two holidays off. Not a lot gets done in Quebec between June 24 and July 1, and it’s a nice easy start to the summer. Mind you, what they don’t have in Quebec is a holiday weekend at the start of August – our Civic Holiday here in Ontario (which I have just learned, to my utter astonishment, is technically called Simcoe Day, though I have never once in my life heard anyone call it that) – and it’s kind of a drag not having a long weekend all the way from July 1 to Labour Day. But, you know, it’s a tradeoff. On the whole I prefer the Ontario setup.
Anyway. When Raymond and I discovered that there was a bracket for a flag on the Manse’s front porch – something that was not there in my childhood days in this house, long ago – we thought maybe we’d have some fun with flags. The usual drapeau is the Ontario one – because, as I said, we’re happy to be where we are:
But we also have a supply of special-days-in-other-places flags. Today it was the fleurdelisé; on Dominion Day it will of course be the red Maple Leaf; and come the Fourth of July, well, you can expect, for one day only, the Stars and Stripes!
We also have a Scottish flag for St. Andrew’s Day, and I hope will have a French tricolore in time for Bastille Day, July 14 (which also happens to be the first birthday of Raymond’s grandson, Henry, so an extra cause for celebration). Still to come: the Union Jack for St. George’s Day, perhaps the Irish tricolour for St. Patrick’s Day, a Welsh flag for St. David’s Day – and so on and so on. I kind of like the idea of an element of surprise when people drive or walk by.
As in: “What the heck special day are those kooky Manse people marking now?”