Canadians get together on a lot of things, but they feel no need to agree on a name for the August 1st Civic Holiday. It’s Emancipation Day in Ontario, Natal Day in Nova Scotia, George Hamilton day in Hamilton, and John Galt Day in Guelph. What this tells us is not how much Guelphians love the Scottish novelist John Galt (though we’re sure he’s a fine writer) but how badly people everywhere in Canada need a mid-summer long weekend.
And they get it on August 1st, whether they are celebrating Heritage Day or Colonel By Day. Unfortunately, holidays lead to drinking, which leads to drinking and driving. The Civic Holiday long weekend is one of several holidays which see spikes in impaired driving collisions.
For that reason, it also sees spikes in impaired driving arrests. Police are out in force everywhere, watching for erratic behaviour, and questioning drivers at checkpoints to ensure that they aren’t driving under the influence.
Perhaps we could end the confusion about what to call the Civic Holiday by re-naming it Drive Sober Day – a reminder to all that such days are meant to be a holiday from work, but not from sane driving practices.
Somehow, we doubt that John Galt fans will go for it.
Given the above, by all means enjoy your Terry Fox Day if you’re in Manitoba, or New Brunswick Day if you’re in (obviously) New Brunswick. But make sure you name a designated driver if you’re going on a trip that involves alcohol. And make sure that your designated driver keeps his or her DD status – a number of good Samaritans end up succumbing to the beer and put their whole group at risk.
Drive sober – or have a sober driver ready – and you’ll stay around to celebrate your next August 1st, whatever you call it.