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10 Signs It’s Definitely Summer in Canada

It’s summer in Canada. It’s hot and sunny and… Wait. I can’t speak for all of Canada. Maybe it’s snowing where you live, after all. Let’s be more specific—it’s summer in Ontario.

I’m sure of it.

I have proof—ten unmistakable signs.

People are moving in or out

Moving trucks on Merivale Road, Ottawa, June 2018

A province-wide moving madness keeps Quebec busy while the rest of us are celebrating Canada Day. The federal holiday, usually overshadowed by Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on June 24, also coincides with the “Jour du déménagement,” a century-old tradition in the province.

In Ontario, tenancies don’t end on July 1 and there’s no designated moving day. However, you’ll see many U-Haul vans around in July and August because dragging furniture from the living room to the back of a truck is best done when there isn’t an inch of ice or several feet of snow on your driveway.

Construction, construction everywhere

Preston Street, Ottawa, June 2018

There are two seasons in Canada—winter and construction. In a variant of the joke, the construction crane is the national bird.

All over the country, roads are being repaved, sidewalks are being fixed and pot holes are being filled. Expect detours, orange traffic signs, lane reductions and street closures. Don’t expect everything to be fixed on time. But that’s okay, because it’s a chance for your city or neighbourhood to win the CAA’s annual Worst Roads campaign!

Summer bus schedule

Preston Street, Ottawa, June 2018

Forget about the route schedule you’ve finally mastered—here comes the summer schedule! The revamped service usually means less frequent service or no more service as if suddenly, no one needed to take the bus.

Sure, school is out but many students ride the school bus anyway, and there is a summer session at university. I don’t understand the summer bus schedule. I curse the summer bus schedule because the price is the same for awful service.

Interesting vehicles on the road

Preston Street, Ottawa, June 2018
Ottawa, June 2018

Vehicles suddenly carry people and “cottage gear” such as bikes, canoes or kayaks. You will notice RVs, some with a Florida licence plate—snowbirds enjoying summer months at home? Finally, there are also many bikes and sports cars around, but I’m never fast enough to take a picture—they speed by, as if they had to make up for those winter months when they had regular, boring wheels.

Summer drinks

Preston Street, Ottawa, June 2018

Every major franchise has a summer drinks promo. McDonald’s offers any size fountain drink for $1, Tim Hortons has the Iced Capp, Starbucks sell the Frappuccino and Harvey’s has—I kid you not—the Shakeslush, “made with half vanilla shake and half slushie.”

It’s common to see teens walking around holding a convenience store Slurpee while adults with purchasing power usually favour the Frappuccino or an Iced Capp.

Canadian flags

Baseline and Merivale, Ottawa, June 2018

Right before July 1, Canadians like to show off their patriotic side by raising the flag up a pole in their backyard or attaching it to a balcony. These flags usually stay up through the summer, sometimes until Halloween when they are replaced by seasonal zombies and monsters.

Bugs and critters

Experimental Farm pathway, Ottawa, June 2018

Hibernation is over and critters are very active. My new neighbours are rabbits, squirrels, beavers, the occasional snake, mosquitoes, flies, spiders and earwigs. And yes, we live in the city.

Just as I’m typing this, there are eight baby skunks crossing the street. I feel like I’m in a freaking Pixar movie.

Severe weather warnings

Forget about snow and ice, now we have thunderstorm and tornado warnings. Watch out for these legendary downpours!

Oh, and extreme heat warnings too.

The sound of fireworks

It’s common to hear and see fireworks from Canada Day to the Labour Day long weekend. In a country where it’s against the law to smoke within several feet of a public building and where any appliance has safety warnings in both languages, I always find it surprising it’s allowed to play with fireworks in your backyard. Go figure.

Apparently, in Ottawa, “The sale of fireworks is permitted only on Victoria Day and Canada Day and the seven business days preceding those days.” I’m not sure by-laws are enforced…

What does summer look like where you live?

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