Monday, May 22, 2006

Hey, Vicky, They Say It's Your Birthday...

Blogroll Me!

I just had to get away from the halachot of my last post; I think I might've opened a can of worms with it...

My six-year-old son went around the house yesterday, whispering, "Tomorrow is Victoria Day." Today he went around the house, whispering, "Today is Victoria Day."

In fact it was. A long weekend to honour the birthday of the late, great Queen Victoria.

I think many people, if not most, don't know why we have a long weekend, why people cross the border to shop in Buffalo, why people drive up north to open their cottages for the season, why people drive to Niagara Falls to spend the weekend there, why services and stores are closed throughout the city, and why we light fireworks.

So, fellow Canadians, and neighboring Americans, here is a brief history lesson.

Even though she's been dead for over a century, Canada has been celebrating Queen Victoria's birthday for years. Wouldn't it be cool if everyone could take a day off work or school on your birthday?

What is Victoria Day? Queen Victoria was born on May 24th but Canadians celebrate Victoria Day on the Monday before May 25. People in England celebrate it in June. Victoria Day became a popular holiday in Ontario (it was Canada West back then) in 1845 and a national holiday in 1901. During the 1900s, it used to be called Empire Day and then it changed to Commonwealth Day. Now Canadians call it Victoria Day.

Who Was Queen Victoria? Victoria, who was queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and empress of India, was born in 1819. She was only 18 when she took over the throne in 1837 after her uncle George IV died. She ruled until her death in 1901, then her son Edward the VII became the King of England.

Queen Victoria - Did U Know?

The earliest postage stamps in the world were the Penny Black of the United Kingdom and had the head of Queen Victoria on them. They were first used on May 6, 1840.

As a kid, Queen Victoria was trained to keep her chin up. To help her out, holly was put under her collar to irritate her if her head was down.

Victoria's mom spoke German at home and even though she ruled England for 64 years, Victoria never learned to speak perfect English.

As soon as she could (after taking over the throne), 18 year-old Victoria moved her bed from her mom's bedroom to her own room.

Queen Victoria was the last teenager to rule England.


Could you imagine a teenager ruler in present-day England, or in any other country for that matter....?

"Um, like I don't feel like getting out of bed today. I think I'll call the masseur into my suite to give me a massage and shiatsu."

"But, Miss, you must meet the visiting dignitaries from Zaire. They are lunching with you and the press secretary in four hours."

"Aw, c'mon, Jeeves. Do I have to? You can show those folks a good time. Say I've got some rare, communicable disease. I'll prepare the Twister (tm) game, you can put on some funky music, I'll order in some Chinese food and you deal with the Zairians/Zairees/whatever....'kay?"


"Jeeves, I know what I'm saying. I'm not going to go to lunch, and that's that! You want anything else from me...? Talk to the hand!"