While today is Canada Day, the Jazz Festival is happening, "Kool & the Gang" are here; and I am writing on my blog at home missing it, out of choice, I was going to go with friends but then realized I felt anti-social and wasn't in the mood to deal with the crazy crowds of 200,000 plus people....
So trust Quebec to have a moving holiday known as "Moving Day"; a phenomona I had never encountered until I arrived in Montreal.
Montreal had this delightful idea to make all rentals on a lease system of one year that begins on July 1st of every year.... Thankfully there are a few landlords who have started breaking this tradition but still the majority participate in "moving day".
"The tradition began as a humanitarian measure of the French colonial government of New France, who forbade seigneurs, the semi-feudal landlords of the seigneuries, from evicting their tenant farmers before the winter snows had melted. In law, this date was set as May 1. Later, this evolved into a requirement that urban leases begin on May 1 and end on April 30. May 1 thus became "Moving Day", the day during which renters who wished to vacate their current premises physically changed domiciles."
"In 1973, during the Quiet Revolution, the government decided that it would be better to move Moving Day to the summer, so that students would not have to move during the school year. The law changed Moving Day to July 1 as of 1974, but no longer set a fixed term for leases. However, tradition has held sway, and the vast majority of leases are still a year long and begin around July 1. In 2004, approximately 120,000 households moved on or around July 1, corresponding to 4% of the population."
"Moving Day is a boon and a headache for commercial moving companies, and people often must reserve their services at least three months in advance."
"In Montreal, where as of 2002 only 36% of residents own their home, difficulty of moving is further complicated because, by convention, most Montreal landlords do not provide their tenants with a refrigerator or stove, meaning that tenants are forced to bring theirs with them."
"Also, exterior staircases leading up to second, third, or even fourth-storey apartments are common in many neighbourhoods, in part because historically this reduced the size of buildings and therefore decreased the owner's property taxes. These staircases are often narrow, curved, and metal – not ideal for nonprofessionals carrying major appliances."