Here’s a fact I didn’t know until today:
Every year in Quebec, thousands and thousands of people pack up and move on July 1. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a 30-year tradition in this province. Actually, the idea of moving en masse goes further back than that. Leases used to end on April 30 in Quebec, says Marie-AndrÃƒÂ©e Jobin of the RÃƒÂ©gie du logement.
Back then, the headache of a move was only exacerbated by the fact that kids were being yanked out of classes before their school year was up. So on Jan. 1, 1974, a new Quebec law came into effect. It made all leases signed till April 30 of that year valid till June 30. Ever since, moving day in Quebec has been July 1.
For many Quebecois, the least period is always July 1 to June 30. How odd, eh?
There’s actually a pretty good Wikipedia article on this phenomenon. It apparently dates back hundreds of years. In New France it was “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.”
The CBC article indicates that, according to Hydro-QuÃƒÂ©bec, 120,000 people changed accounts for that date in 2005. Assuming just two people a household, that represents 240,000 people moving on July 1. Statistics Canada says that an average of just under 5% of Canadians moved between July 1, 2004 and June 30, 2005. So that suggests that of all the people moving in Quebec in a given year, more than half of them move on one particular day.
I’m trying to imagine the upsides of this arrangement. There’s plenty of inventory from which to choose if you move in the summer. Of course, if you want to move at any other time of year, your options are far more limited. I learned this from somebody who once lived in Montreal, and he said it was a nightmare. I wonder why the tradition has been so resilient?