Sept. 1 wasn't supposed to be just another Thursday, although it might have felt that way.
Instead, the day marked the first opportunity to celebrate Alberta Day, the start of what’s intended to be a new annual tradition.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging the anniversary of when the Alberta Act came into effect, formally establishing the province of Alberta, on Sept. 1, 1905. But the idea of setting aside another day to recognize all that is Alberta seems like it’s overkill.
It was just five weeks ago that we observed Heritage Day, a civic holiday dedicated to the cultural heritage of Alberta. We also have Alberta Culture Days taking place this month, giving people 30 days to discover, experience, and celebrate Alberta's arts and culture through local events and activities.
Is there really a need for a third spot on the calendar – within a span of two months no less – to come together in a spirit of celebration and express their pride in all things that are uniquely Albertan? We’re not sure many people were calling for it, but that apparently didn’t stop outgoing premier Jason Kenney from declaring the new non-holiday earlier this year.
Whether it’s Kenney wanting to leave a legacy or it’s another way to point out Alberta’s uniqueness to the federal government in Ottawa, the impetus for Alberta Day seemed a little suspect. Sept. 1 being a non-holiday Thursday meant pretty much all inaugural Alberta Day celebrations didn't take place until Sept. 3 or 4. Those celebrations missed the connection to that Sept. 1 date, and by falling on the Labour Day long weekend, lost the very connection to why Alberta Day was created in the first place. If Albertans are celebrating on Sept. 3, or other days early in the month in the years ahead, isn't that essentially duplicating Alberta Culture Days?
And by the way, the City of Calgary's Alberta Day event, which did fall on Sept. 1, was sparsely attended.