How cool is the city of Hamilton?
On this, the 3rd long “summertime” weekend, the seeming throw in, the after-thought, the wouldn’t-it-be-nice-to-have-one-in-August-too, the holiday Monday with such little historical basis that most of us just refer to it as that ‘civic holiday’, Ontario’s Steeltown, Ti-Cat city, ol’ yeller-and-black, rather tongue-in-cheekily called today ‘George Hamilton Day’.
Seriously. Just how cool is that?
Perpetually tanned, all glistening white teeth, who better symbolizes the easy breezy, care-free days of summer than George Hamilton? Of Love At First Bite and… I’m not sure what else fame, George Hamilton was the frothy lightness to his era’s gritty realism. For those uncomfortable with the unrelenting bleakness of, say, Warren Beatty, there was always George Hamilton to sooth your jangled, too much disco nerves.
What I also love about Hamilton’s George Hamilton Day is the self-effacing nature of it. This is a city that accepts the fact that, even in the best of lights, it is a B-list place. Maybe. It rarely ends up on many Top Of lists. In the grand scheme of things, Hamilton might earn a guest spot on The Love Boat or McMillan and Wife but an actual shot at Oscar glory was never really in the cards for Hamilton.
We should all endeavour to be so humble and realistic about our place in the world. So stop being stodgy, Toronto, and come on down from your high horse. Simcoe Day? Really? That’s so 18th-century. Lower your sights. Turn those numbers around. Rather than the 1790s, think 1970s.
Now, Hamilton does have a little bit of an advantage in that its name has more familiarity with fame. George Hamilton isn’t the only famous Hamilton. (I think the city should’ve amped up the 70s cheese factor one step further and called this first Monday in August George Hamilton Joe Frank and Reynolds Day.)
What’s a place named Toronto supposed to do?
No. Too easy.
I guess we could revert back to a previous name, York, and run with that. Dick York Day! The best Bewitched Darrin ever. But that might seem like we’re just lamely copying Hamilton. Besides, there’s nothing particularly summer sunshine-y about Dick York.
It’s the spirit of reclaiming summer that Hamilton’s done with George Hamilton Day we need to embrace in renaming today. Tap into our inner Sammy Hagar. We can’t drive 55. The days are getting shorter, the nights just a little chillier. The fun’s not over but the end is in sight.
Screw the sunscreen and carpe diem.
Toronto, let’s take back this holiday from the clutches of fussy historicism and brand it in the summertime fun that it actually is. Make it all peaches and corn on the cob, less crowded bars and restaurants as everybody who’s anybody has fled town to cottages, campgrounds or Rome. It’s the beginning of nobody’s favourite month but hardly anyone’s least favourite.
If this is truly a civic holiday, let’s put some civic pride into it. Simcoe Day, Toronto? Surely we can do better than that.
— chidingly submitted by Cityslikr