The Monday before or on May 24 is a statutory holiday in Canada, most commonly referred to as "May Two-Four weekend" (a "two-four" is a slang term meaning a case of 24 bottles of beer). It's the official gateway to summer, when theme parks and campgrounds open for business, barbeques are fired up, and outdoor cafes and patios become packed with pasty-skinned locals thirsty from hibernation.
But we owe this holiday to two formidable forces: the Banks, who will grab onto any ol' day off and make it a national institution until the end of time; and Queen Victoria, who was born on May 24, 1819. If you can read the quote on the photo, she seems worthy of the attention: "Give my people beer, plenty of beer, and cheap beer, and you will have no revolution among them." OK, say what you want about the monarchy, but that's one smart bitch.
Once known as "Empire Day" and "Commonwealth Day", this holiday now known officially in Canada as "Victoria Day" is also celebrated in other Commonwealth countries with fireworks, parties and government-sanctioned public drinking.
If you want the whole history of the holiday, you can read it here.
Like the majority of Canadians, I have spent my holiday weekend working on some minor home improvement and landscaping projects (damn, I'm handy! And I can cook too! I think I'll keep me around for awhile.) . I think the Old Gal would approve of my labours: a new pulse massage showerhead, a totally smokin' hot floral and herb garden, a sexycool cocktail bar, and a new sculptural lighting installation in my living room. In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, I have been drinking while decorating, though not to excess, because I love all my fingers and toes with equal passion. And tonight, I shall toast each and every one of you when I'm blitzkreiged at the city waterfront, watching fireworks and tazering black flies.
I don't really have any special bond with the Queen, be it Victoria or Elizabeth, but I greatly appreciate the holidays, and I've rather enjoyed most of her movies (The Queen, Elizabeth, Mrs Brown, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert). I'm a little sad that we don't have a national holiday for Queen Elizabeth II's real birthday on April 21. That woman has been large and in-charge for 55 years. Imagine! FIFTY FIVE YEARS!! Okay, Q-Vic reigned for 63 years, but she didn't have the British tabloids on her lawn and trainwrecks like Fergie in her house. So give the woman a freakin holiday. Besides, I could use more time-off between Easter and May TwoFour.