July is a month where most people set out for Summer vacation and try to relax after the busy month of June, except in Quebec. Most Canadians are celebrating Canada’s birthday and watching fireworks. Not in Quebec, most people are moving. This was recently an issue reported on the news here in Toronto after many families found themselves without housing to rent. My husband kept asking me why Quebec insists on moving all on the same day? My answer, “Because it has always been like that!” Since he didn’t see that as a viable answer to his question nor did I for that matter I began to investigate it.
In the 1700’s and 1800’s it was law that all contracts began and ended on May 1st. As the population grew many found themselves taking their children out of school to move and the law was changed to July 1st. It is no longer law to have contracts start on July 1st, but it has now become tradition. Since Quebec celebrates St Jean Baptiste Day on June 24th Canada Day is not celebrated as much. So July 1st is now known as Moving Day.
The Guardian wrote a good article about moving day that may be of interest, you can read it here. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/jun/29/montreal-moving-day-what-happens-when-a-whole-city-moves-house-at-once
I was recently in Quebec for a convention and the city was under immense construction. I can not imagine everyone in the city of Montreal moving on one day with the havoc of construction, trucks, and other mayhem.
Rent is cheaper in the province of Quebec than other regions of the Country so many still rent as opposed to buying houses, especially in Montreal. With rental agreements all for the same time period it is better for the landlords as they gain more competition for the same property.
Good luck trying to get a moving company to move you on July 1st in Montreal. Most won’t have trucks available which is why so many people help each other move or have to find creative ways to move their belongings. Traditions can be fun but sometimes they can be the source of great frustration.
About the Author
Carmen Outridge has been translating documents from English to French for over 30 years. She is the owner of Outridge Translation Services and specializes in translation services for the Province of Quebec, the way Quebec expects it! You can learn more about the services available at www.outridgetranslation.com