Montreal: Moving Madness

A cautionary tale of busy friends and grumpy families.

What you are about to read is a true story.  I know because I was there.

The date:  June 15 at a family supper.  At the table, a student, a kid brother, mom, and dad:

Student: “Sooo, I was wondering what everyone is doing on Canada day.”

Kid Brother: “NO! NO! NO!  I’m not doing it! I told you last year, and the year before and the year before that I was never going to help you move again.”

Mother: “Well, you know I can’t help because I wrecked my knees.  Sorry.”

Dad: “Look, this is the fourth year in a row. This is getting ridiculous.”

The date: June 25. Out with friends

Student: “Sooo, I thought it would be great if everyone came over to my apartment on Canada Day.  I’ll supply pizza and beer.”

Friends:  Total Silence.

Only in Quebec, they say. In the end Dad is there with the van, kid brother, very pissed off, and one friend. Only in June, in Quebec does the offer of pizza and beer result in lost friends.  What is it with this annual relocation of a city? A 2013 source estimated that about 115,000 of Montreal’s 1.6 million residents relocate every year (Austin, 2013). I know because I was there.

Why does 7% of Canada’s second largest city move on the same day?  Even if you could afford it, the possibility of getting a moving truck or van is zero. Then there are the problems of all those abandoned pets at the SPCA.  And the old furniture on the curb. There has to be a reason.  So what is it?

The answer: in Quebec, the official July 1 moving day dates back to 1750, when a summer moving date was mandated to prevent having tenants evicted in the middle of our bitterly cold winters (Shingler, 2014). Today, it is mostly about tradition where all leases start and end on July 1st. Tradition, not law. And it just makes no sense to me.


2016-06-29 17.28.09Picture1Picture2

Yesterday, while walking to the metro, I saw 3 abandoned sofas, a bed, a table, and a whole lot of other junk.  Hence this blog.  So I got the camera, and went for a walk.  And what did I see?  Nothing!  Kudos to Montreal, because all of the trash from yesterday was gone.  Those two chairs in the picture was all I could find in a 1 km radius. The moving-related trash can cost the city $10 million in cleanup (Austin, 2013). Now all we need to do is fix the problem at the SPCA.

For anyone with moving related problems, the Régie du logement is open and ready to help this weekend:

And good luck you 7%. I’ll be there.


Austen, I., (2013). When a city Is on the move, with mattresses and dishwashers in tow. The New York Times. July 1. Retrieved June 29, 2016.

Shingler, B. (2014). Quebec’s traditional July 1 moving day a feast for scavengers. The Canadian Press July 1. Retrieved June 29, 2016

2 thoughts on “Montreal: Moving Madness

  1. Haha! Great post Heather!
    I moved this weekend and definitely had my hands full 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your story.


  2. Haha! Great post Heather!
    I moved this weekend as well and I definitely had my hands full.
    Thanks for charing your story.


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