It’s not like we’re lacking for holidays here in BC, by any means, but I’ll take any excuse to eat and drink. That’s why I’ve decided to adopt Quebec’s St. Jean Baptiste day as my own, all the way over here on the West Coast.
A brief history lesson: St. Jean Baptiste Day started in what was then Lower Canada (Quebec-ish) in the 1800s as a tribute to similar celebrations in France and across Europe, all of which were a party to fête Midsummer on the old pagan calendar. The largely French Lower Canada took on the celebration as a patriotic nod to the Old Country while also wishing to enrich their new community in North America, Anglophone and Francophone alike. The day is still celebrated across Europe and in communities where there is a huge French population, and in Quebec has become a huge annual celebration.
There’s no doubt that Vancouver has a substantial French Canadian community, but St. Jean Baptiste Day doesn’t have an official place in the BC calendar. Still, that’s not stopping me: on the weekend of June 23-24, I plan on taking full advantage. On that weekend, I will be making poutine from scratch (okay, with frozen fries, but my gravy will be homemade, and the cheese curds will come from the awesome Duso’s Cheese Shop in the Granville Island Market). I’ll also be partaking of Quebec beer (Maudite or Trois Pistoles, anyone?), and…playing Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” all day long. ALL DAY. Look out, neighbours!
Okay, so that last part is an exaggeration, but I do plan on hosting a BBQ or some sort of celebration involving delicious Quebec food, drink and pasttimes (some Quebec films screened on my back fence at night, perhaps?). Because…well, why not? I love Quebec, and so should you! Vive le Quebec!