Monday, August 4, 2008

Happy Simcoe Day!

Most of us are simply happy to have a long weekend smack dab in the middle of our summer! My kids wondered aloud about "this Simcoe guy" and I was fuzzy on some of the details. So, I figured I'd check it out and enlighten my kids ... and you!

Lieutenant-General John Graves Simcoe (1752–1806) was the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada (now known as southern Ontario) from 1791-1796. He founded York (now Toronto) and was instrumental in introducing institutions such as the courts, trial by jury, English common law, freehold land tenure, and for abolishing slavery in Upper Canada long before it was abolished in the British Empire as a whole (it had disappeared from Upper Canada by 1810, but wasn't abolished throughout the Empire until 1834). As an interesting side note: Oakville, was the first stop on the Canadian side of the infamous "underground railroad" of the American Civil War. Our downtown is riddled with secret compartments and amazing stories.

In 1869 Toronto City Council came up with the idea for a summer "day of recreation." In 1875, it was settled: the first Monday in August would be the official Civic Holiday. That name stuck as other cities followed Toronto's leisure-loving example and proclaimed this a municipal (rather than provincial) holiday. But in 1968 Toronto City Council again took the lead and renamed the day to recognize one of Ontario's earliest historical figures.

Enjoy your day of recreation!


Sandra Collins said...

interesting info - tfs - long weekends in the summer are fabulous

:: gingerkitty :: said...

thank you for educating me as well..

Have a glorious day


Midnite Scrapper said...

I always enjoy a little history lesson. Thanks!

Martha said...

How fun is that to get a 3 day weekend in the summer? Of course out here it is too hot to want to do much of anything...but the idea sounds great.

Cyn M said...

One of the holidays we lost when we moved to GEORGIA!!!


Okay - back to your regular scheduled programming!!! Bwahahahahaha!


agent713 said...

We just celebrate "BC Day" here. It's our 150th Birthday!!!