Can you feel it? Can you feel the excitement? A long weekend is on the horizon and most of Canada is getting ready to celebrate. Call it what you like: Civic Holiday, Upper Canada’s first Lieutenant Governor Major General John Graves Simcoe Day, Colonel John By Day or just August Monday Long Weekend, but we’ve got the chance to wring a little more summer fun out of our brief flirtation with warm temperatures.
And how will so many of us begin this three-day flight into work-free ecstasy?
We’ll get in our cars and hit the highway in search of good weather and good vibrations. Instead, we’ll find a jam-packed highway to hell. There’s a reason Major General Simcoe is reviled by anyone who has driven Highways 400 or 401 on the day that bears his unholy name.
Are you ready to meet the challenge? Take the Road Sage “Long Weekend Driving Preparation Quiz” and find out.
1) What’s the secret to beating August long weekend cottage-country traffic?
a) Leave for the cottage on Canada Day. Stay there until the August long weekend is over.
b) Leave late Thursday evening and arrive around midnight. Wake up at 3 a.m. Monday morning and drive home.
c) Leave for the cottage on Friday. Get stuck in traffic. Arrive. Honk. Turn around and drive home.
d) Sell cottage.
2) You think seeing The Hound of the Baskervilles at the Shaw Festival would be a fine long-weekend treat! How much time should you allocate to get to Niagara-on-the-Lake from Toronto?
a) Google Maps estimates Toronto to Niagara-on-the-Lake as approximately a 2-1/2-hour drive. So, allow six hours on a long weekend, most of which you will spend going “Oh hey! It looks like we’re moving!” – pause – “Oh, wait, no. No, we’re not.”
b) Take the Shaw Festival shuttle from the Royal York. Same experience but on a bus.
c) Take the Go Train to Niagara Falls. It leaves Friday from Union Station at 6:20 p.m. and arrives at Niagara Falls at 8:24 p.m. Then take the WEGO Niagara-on-the-Lake shuttle, but the last one of those leaves at 6 p.m. So, I guess you’ll have to sleep in a parking lot in Niagara Falls.
d) Google says it’s only a 27-hour walk. So, just slightly longer than driving on the holiday long weekend.
e) Consider going to see a weekday matinee in September.
3) Congratulations! You live in Vancouver, Canada’s most beautiful city. You’ve decided to start the long weekend by crossing the Lion’s Gate Bridge. It’s Friday after work. What’s your next step?
a) Run the Grouse Grind until you pass out and/or the urge to drive across Lion’s Gate Bridge on the long weekend passes. Spend the weekend recovering at home.
b) Book a table at the Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar. Order the seafood tower for four. Stay there until the urge to cross Lion’s Gate Bridge passes. This may require a second seafood tower for four.
c) Try to cross Lion’s Gate Bridge. Regret the decision for the rest of your life. This feeling never passes.
4) Drivers on holiday long weekends are notoriously aggressive. How many speeding tickets did the Ontario Provincial Police give out over the last Canada Day weekend?
d) They issued almost 7,000 and more than 170 stunt/racing charges
e) And you thought the movie Hereditary was scary.
5) Despite all rational thought, you’ve decided to drive over the August long weekend. What’s the best strategy?
a) Listen to podcasts.
b) Listen to music.
c) Okay, if you don’t like podcasts or music, don’t listen to anything.
d) Engage in conversation.
e) Or don’t.
f) Take breaks to help stay alert.
g) Practise defensive driving.
h) Embrace the fact that there will be bad traffic. Zen out. If you’re alive and have time off work and a nice place to holiday, count yourself lucky.
i) All of the above.
Your score: Anything less than three is a really bad sign. Consider staying home.