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Happy Heritage Day

The third Monday in February has been celebrated as Heritage Day now since 1974. That year a Parliamentary Committee reached an unanimous agreement on the declaration of that day being a National Holiday. The press had speculated that the necessary legislation would be passed so the holiday would begin in 1975! Does anyone know what happened.

Heritage Canada pushed so strongly to make it a national holiday. When Pierre Berton was Chair he thought for sure that his voice would be heard. At Peter Gzowski's memorial his family made a special appeal for a mid winter holiday, too. He had obviously pushed hard for it . Heath MacQuarrie, one of our great politicians who died recently in Ottawa had always hoped to have a winter holiday. The day he wanted was Sir John A Macdonald's birthday. Unfortunately his birthday was on January 11th and that is just too close to Christmas to interest schools, labour people etc.. That's been unfortunate, because Sir John A. is worthy of that recognition.

If we did celebrate a February holiday and called it Heritage Day we could take it in what ever direction we wanted: Prime Ministers, Johnny Canuck, Tuktoyaktuk Day or whatever we wish.

Tomorrow we're going to celebrate Heritage Day at City Hall by passing out some awards for special treatment of heritage buildings, the Mayor is going to announce his plans for shaping the 150th anniversary of the city's incorporation in 2005 and we're putting together a simple display on the Mayors of our City. We have had 44 of them over the years and we must begin to develop the stories on each of them. That is what the display is about. Holiday or not we're going to celebrate.

Written Sunday, February 17, 2002 at 11:50 PM

(c) 2000 by Catherine Hennessey. Questions or comments? Email me@catherinehennessey.com

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