It’s Summer, It’s “Something Something Season”!

Man watching the construction site on Rideau Street on June 20 following the sinkhole disaster

Man watching the construction site on Rideau Street on June 20 following the sinkhole disaster

In North America, business is done on the assumption that everything can be marketed, and seasons are no exception.

Fall is an hedonist season that revolves around “comfort”—making your home feel cozy for the cold months to come, enjoying the bountiful harvest and stick-to-ribs food, etc. Winter doesn’t even need to be marketed, as it is dominated by Christmas and shopping mall fun, unless it’s too cold and you’d rather stay home and play Canadian online casino. Marketing spring is a tough job because the weather is still bitterly cold and few customers can think of buying shorts and booking holidays at the lake when yet another winter storm is forecast. By comparison, marketing summer is as easy as selling toys to kids: people are in good mood, ready to make the most of hot days and their precious holiday time.

And over the hotter months, there is a catchphrase that can be read or heard everywhere: “it’s summer, it’s (insert relevant product or service) season!”

So let’s take a look at what summer is like around here…

It’s summer, it’s construction season!

Everybody here jokes that we have two seasons: winter and construction. Canadian humour is pretty accurate, the city turned into a construction site as soon as the last snow bank has melted. Potholes are being fixed, major infrastructure work is underway and we even have a brand new giant sinkhole downtown Ottawa (yes, an accidental one). Watch for road closures and traffic jams! The construction industry is so important that the province of Quebec even legislated a two-week annual holiday for it: les Vacances de la construction, which begins each year on the second to last Sunday of July.

It’s summer, it’s cool beverage season! 

Starbucks heavily markets iced drinks and it’s famous Frappucinos, Tim Hortons has the Ice Capp, many fast food joints offer a large soda for $1, and any fully-licensed place has a billboard sign on the sidewalk with some clever beer-related joke or pun. Even supermarkets put big pallets of bottled water right at the door as if we didn’t have tap water at home—everybody wants to sell the ultimate Canadian drink of summer and quench your thirst.

It’s summer, it’s patio season!

Aren’t you tired of eating out but sitting inside? What don’t you enjoy a relaxing break outside, for a change? Oh my God, did you see that? A PATIO! Okay, this is Canada so you can’t smoke even if you eat outside and your favourite hole-in-the-wall may not be licensed to sell booze, but you can totally enjoy your shawarma, burger, fries, bison steak or whatever sitting on wobbly plastic chairs. At least, unlike France, being outside doesn’t cost you more than standing at the bar.

It’s summer, it’s BBQ season!

Step one, head to Canadian Tire and buy the fancier BBQ set you can find. Step two, buy meat. Step three, stand in front of said BBQ and grill the shit out of this flesh, but not too much obviously—you’re not a rookie, you’re the grill master. The neighborhood will sure enjoy the lovely smell, especially if you set up your BBQ on your balcony.

It’s summer, it’s fix your home season!

Our neighborhood was built in 2000 and about three years ago, every single house started to have its roof replaced. Apparently, in Canada, roofs last twenty years. This summer again, roofers, pickup trucks, dumpsters and piles of materials can be found here and there all over the neighborhood. Each job takes a few days, during which you can enjoy DUNG DUNG BANG, swearing in Québécois (roofers are often francophones for some reason) and loud radio playing the latest hits.

It’s summer, it’s door-to-door sales season!

Even the most Canadian Canadian doesn’t enjoy walking around during the winter, much less for commission. But as soon as it’s sufficiently warm to leave the door open long enough for a sales pitch, the doorbell rings, preferably around dinner time. Charities, landscaping services, roofers, house painting services and more often happen to be in the neighborhood ‘”just today for a special opportunity”.

It’s summer, it’s mow and water your lawn season!

We are in suburbia but very close to downtown (… by Canadian standards, a 15-minute drive!) so nobody has huge yards here, we all have a little patch of grass in the front of the house (as in, enough for one tree) and a small backyard (big enough to air-dry laundry). Yet, people cherish it like a freaking golf course. Sprinklers left on all day usually water the sidewalk and not the lawn, yet it grows… and has to be mowed. The entire neighborhood seems to take turns, so you can enjoy loud lawnmowers preferably very early on Sunday mornings.

It’s summer, it’s critter season!

We have squirrels (grey and black), beavers, chipmunks, skunks, snails (every time it rains), the odd snake, crows, robins and mosquitoes. Sadly, no polar bears. They look cuddly on TV, though. Oh, and dogs. So many dogs…

It’s summer, it’s show-off-your-ride season!

Ottawa seems to have an endless supply of white balding men with too much disposable income and a middle-life crisis who invest in flashy cars. You can see them driving stupidly fast around the block in their bright red convertible, sometime a much younger woman by their side. Problem is, half of them don’t seem to be used to stick shifts and they stall at stop signs. If I’m around, I laugh. Loud enough.

It’s summer, it’s cottage season!

Fridays around here look like “take your canoe to work day” as you can see boats topping the roofs of pickup trucks and SUVs. I can only assume that the driver is heading to the lake after work…

It’s summer, it’s garage sale season!

I wish I could report on my amazing garage sale finds, but that’s not going to happen: I miss most of them because they are always planned on Saturday mornings at ungodly hours. I’m not waking up at 6 a.m. to buy your old computer monitor, sorry.

How about you? What does your summer look like?


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Haha that’s absolutely it! Every season IS a marketing opportunity. I remember we arrived in the fall and it was all about the pumpkin, the pumpkin spice and the cozy stuff. It shocked me because as far as I remembered in Europe we don’t assign a food / concept / drink to each season lol It’s even worst in the States (per usual_).
    As soon as I saw your title I thought: BBQ season haha
    Here it’s all about gardening, going to the lake and mountain biking. And middle-aged white men go out on fancy mountain bikes. Unless they come from Calgary then they drive the fancy car to “the mountain”.
    Funny story, one of them tried to pick me up last year in front of my MIL when I went to the gas station (a block away) to get gas for the lawn mower. He thought I looked good in my old pants and T-shirt haha

    • That’s… the worst pickup moment ever. Dude, big car doesn’t mean… or well, whatever 😆

      Gardening is huge here too. I understand it, but I find it too frustrating to start all over again every year.

      Like you, I don’t remember any special about seasons in France, although come to think of it, they are associated with the school year even by people who don’t go to school or don’t have kids. Like, we always talk about “les grandes vacances” for summer.

      • True, ha les grandes vacances. Je ne savais pas a quel point on etait chanceux avant de venir ici….

        I don’t know, I love gardening. Taking care of the lawn, not so much though. But I love growing and nurturing my plants 🙂 Plus I get delicious veggies at the end of it.

        In the winter they come with huge trucks with the giant tires… You know what they say, big car…small feet? haha
        Actually, Jamie used to have a Mazda and then a Porsche in Scotland. Had a midlife crisis at 25

  2. “It’s summer, it’s the you’re sweaty and red like a pig season!”
    I like summer, don’t be mistaken. It’s just that today it’s 34°C in Lyon, that I’ve been having rashes because of the heat and that I’m so over being hot. It’s been 2 days. I want to go to the beach!

    Mosquitos. I once almost fainted in Rhode Island (remember, camping close to a swamp isn’t such a good idea) because I’ve been bitten too many times. Mosquitoes in North America are so vicious! I don’t miss that, that’s for sure. I don’t miss the road works, neither… Mostly, I didn’t like summer in Montréal too much. At least July, August was really nice. It was way too hot and humid for my tastes!

    • I love when it’s super hot, although I feel your pain because in the city and in a small apartment (just assuming you don’t live in a mansion…) it gets super stuffy.

      Mosquitoes in Ottawa are dumb. They fly around and land on the white wall, just waiting to be killed 😆

        of 43m2.

        It’s not nice in the city but lovely in the countryside!

        I guess canadian mosquitoes are too polite to bite you.

        • That’s a fairly big place for two people, I mean, normal for France anyway. Cool! I keep on picturing these 10m2 in Paris :-/

          • Ahah no actually that’s not a big place in France. We’re the only ones in Lyon living in such a small place! But we do love it. It got everything I need: a beautiful parquet from 1902, a chimney, and a very high ceiling. I don’t need more!

      • Honestly, I don’t know. Never experience such a thing. I don’t think I won’t though. but I guess that’s why people in my country sometimes so lazy! we take a lot of things for granted.

          • In Java and Sumatra Island, quite a lot. In new year, when rain pour at its worst, then come the flood.
            annual event, government do nothing, and people get used to…
            In eastern part , Flores Island, etc(north of Australia) , it is barely rain. but beaches are wonderful over there 7/24/365

          • I’d be kind of scared of the rain season. I’ve seen floods in various parts of the world and I was in HK over the typhoon season. It wasn’t fun, despite the warm temperatures!

  3. It’s summer, our first summer here, and it s cycling season 🙂 we are just loving it; the city has such beautiful, lush green, along the river bike trails; what fun!

    And the birds, there are so many birds, I realized how much I like birds; red-winged black bird, what a beauty!

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