Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 02.23.05
Quebec City


We need a holiday, now

Making the run from New Years to Easter is just too much of a leap.

Think about it. From the time you deal with the hangover onJanuary 1 until you dig into the Easter ham is going to be at least 81 days, give or take a day.

And that's only if Easter manages to fall at the end of March, which it rarely does.

If it ends up well into April, as it can, you could end up without a break for 98 days.

That's 14 weeks -- three and a half months, for crying out loud.

Imagine. Three and half months with only Saturday and Sunday to call your own.

Three and a half of the darkest, coldest, snowiest months of the year.

The problem is the government can't or won't opt for any particular date to declare an official day of rest for fear of offending someone or some group..

So let's help them out.

How about February 6? That's the day in 1602 Aymar de Chaste, governor of Dieppe, was appointed Lt. Governor of New France.

It's a significant date and has that Dieppe connection we tried to renew during WW II.

Or how about February 22. We could honour Edme-Nicholas Robert.

He was named Intendent on that day in 1724. Mind you, he died in a shipwreck before he ever took the job so maybe he's not such a good choice.

I thought about February 5. That was the day in 1759 that British Prime Minister William Pitt, The elder, gave Wolfe secret orders to capture Quebec.

I also rejected that one for obvious reasons.

Maybe February 1 would be a good idea.

It was on that day in 1796 that Toronto became the capital of Upper Canada and brought all Canadians together by giving them something to blame for all the nation's subsequent woes.

Another good one would be February 8. That was the day in 1879 that Sir Sandford Fleming first proposed using Standard Time.

It was a banner day for me since it meant I only have to say it's 8:30, 9:30 Atlantic Time instead of it's 8:30 in Quebec, 8:37 in Rimouski, 8:42 in Gaspé, etc. etc.

For Quebecers, a good choice would be February 4.

Back on that day in 1884 Premier Joseph-Alfred Mousseau set the stage for all future dealings with the federal government by demanding Prime Minister Macdonald retroactively cough up $2,394,000 to cover the cost of the north shore railway between Quebec and Ottawa.

His argument was simple: No money for the north shore railway, no money for the CPR.

But if I had my choice it would be February 19.

On that day in 1897 Adelaide Sophia Hoodless founded the Federated Women's Institute of Canada.

It's non-partisan, non-racial, gives women their due, and let's face it, the Women's Institute has probably done more for this country than any politician, soldier, or entrepreneur ever did.

Besides, when it comes to a holiday in February, the average Canadian would celebrate Broccoli Day if it meant some time off.