Why is Montreal Moving Day on July 1st?

7 per cent of Montrealers move on July 1st, according to 2013 estimates – that’s about 116,000 people.  Moving Day causes stress, blocks up streets, and a lot of sweaty people drinking beer and eating pizza with a sore back and a wet paint roller in their hands. Keep in mind, if you’re not moving — be patient with those that are! After all, it’s Canada Day, a good day to practise good old fashioned Canadian manners.

Are you wondering why so many people move on July 1st?

As you might suspect, it was mandated by the Quebec government: but not for the reasons you may think.

Moving day actually used to be May 1st;French law in the 18th century set May 1 as the starting date for all legal agreements, including leases. The colonial government wanted to protect the people from seigneurs evicting their tenants  before the last snowfall – (this year May would have been trouble – there was still ice and snow on our balconies!)

Later, this evolved into a requirement that urban leases begin on May 1 and end on April 30. In law, this date was set in the Civil Code of Lower Canada of 1866. May 1st thus became “Moving Day”.

The only problem with a May 1st moving day was that it was a major inconvenience for parents of children still in school. In 1973, the Quebec government mandated that Moving Day shift to July 1st, to ensure primary school children would be out for the summer. It also further protected from the occasional long winters experienced in Montreal.

Moving tomorrow? Good luck.

Keep your knees bent when lifting boxes –be mindful of your back! And stay hydrated. It’s going to be a hot one.