Today is July first. For many Canadians, this is a day to demonstrate gratitude for the country and to honor it with parades, barbeques and beer drinking. Pretty much like the 4th in the states. But for the French Canadians, this day has a very different meaning.
It's moving day.
You see, here in Quebec, flags are flown and heritages are honored on June 24th. That is when the Quebecers wave their flags, have their barbeques and drink their beer. July 1st is moving day here and up and down the streets in every neighborhood in town, you will see people moving out of and into apartments. It's a huge choreography that began a week ago.
For the last week, as everyone who is moving this year readied their belongings, scavenging has been quite lucrative for the second hand store men crawling the alleys. I used to go out and bring things home (a down jacket! a chest of drawers! a perfectly good pair of leather shoes! a mirror!) but spouse now forbids it. For him, if it has been thrown out by someone else, there's some kind of stink on it that can never be gotten off. It is amazing to me the things that people will throw out that are perfectly re-sellable.
The reason that today is moving day is that the government issued rental agreements are standardized for one year beginning July 1st. Rent control is very strong here and although one can move in or out of a place at any time, the lease always is prorated to July 1st and then renewed annually.
Moving companies charge ridiculous hourly amounts for the trucks today. Some companies burst into existence for just this week and vanish just as quickly, pocketing, I imagine, tidy sums.
You can envision the logistical nightmare this is. Driving is impossible as moving trucks clog residential streets. Moving out and in is all done this day with all the apartments changing hands. Cleaning must be done in between and everyone has to hurry because the people and trucks are booked somewhere else after you.
Quite bizarre, wouldn't you agree?
We don't have to deal with any of that this year. Our renters are staying as are we. The Jazz Festival has begun and there are some good things playing tonight. They've also closed down the village for an art festival. I like it for the people watching. I'll try to get some pics.