Getting a Move On

Montrealers mark Canada Day with moving experiences.

Written by Mark Collin Reid

June 21, 2015

While most Canadians will be celebrating Canada Day with fireworks and barbeques, many Montrealers will be instead lugging boxes and furniture across their city.

That's because July 1st in Montreal is Moving Day — the day that most rental leases expire and renters are able to move into their new apartments.

According to Spacing.ca, the concept of moving day dates back to the mid 1700s. That's when, the site says, a bylaw was established that banned landlords from throwing out renters in the winter. It was thought that tenants would be able to survive more easily in the summer.

Moving Day wasn't always on July 1, though. It used to be May 1. In a June 26, 1903, edition of the Montreal Gazette, the newspaper argued in favour of the later lease release date: “La Patrie has recently been conducting a campaign in its columns in favour of changing Moving Day from May 1st to July 1st, so as to make the moving of families and the closing of schools coincide. The matter is one of considerable importance, as it affect the work of the primary schools in particular. After a child has attended a certain school for eight months, it is not fair either to the school or the child to take it from its classes and send it to another school.”

Spacing.ca notes Moving Day officially, well, moved to July 1 in 1973.

So as you're grilling burgers and quaffing cold drinks, raise a glass to the Montrealers who are spending Canada Day in moving vans!

All images courtesy of McCord Museum.

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