Marina and Nidhi, our daughter, decided to fly off to Las Vegas for the Spring Break. Our son Nikhil had his hands full for the spring break with his re-certification programme for the Lifeguard, CPR and First Aid, scheduled during the week. Further, both Nikhil and I never enjoyed the idea of throwing a few bucks at the gambling table, always sure that one is going to lose all of it. I drove Marina and Nidhi to the Toronto Airport by 5 AM and behold – there was hardly any space to even pull up the car on to the kerb at the departure terminal.
The schools in Ontario close down for a week, beginning the second Monday of March. This week is called the March Break or the Spring Break. It is called the Spring Break as it often marks the beginning of the Spring. Modern spring break owes its origin to a New York swim coach who moved his team to the warm Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the 1930s. looking for a warm place to keep his swimmers in shape over the winter. The concept took off in the 1960s with the release of the movie ‘Where the Boys Are’ and marketed using the phrase ‘Spring Break’. The subject movie was about a group of college students from the US Midwest letting loose in Fort Lauderdale.
Spring break is now one of the most popular travel times in Canada and the US with all the airports jam-packed and the Staff at the border crossings over worked. It is the time of year to shed layers of impermeable outerwear in favour of shorts, T-shirts, and sandals.
The March break is an important week for our family as Nidhi, Nikhil and I – all of us have our birthdays during the week. With the children grown up, they seem to have lost the enthusiasm to celebrate their birthdays. They just do not feel like wasting the money as they say. Please refer my blog https://rejinces.net/2014/07/18/how-did-you-manage-it/
The March break coincides with the thawing of the snow. The grass is now visible and the streams and rivers are flowing faster with the water from the melting snow. The city’s crews are busy cleaning up the parks and the walkways, collecting all the plastic that laid buried under the winter snow. They were also seen repairing the fences, the swings and playing equipment in the parks; setting up the benches and the tables, clearing the flower beds for the springing up of the tulips and daffodils.
March break also marks the beginning of the construction season. In Canada we have four seasons – winter, severe winter, winter and the followed by a six month long construction season. March break marks the beginning of the deployment of roads and bridges maintenance crew, shutting down some parts of the road, closing down a few lanes on the highways; all resulting in the vehicles either slowing down or taking a diversion. Construction of new buildings commence at this time and most of the high-rise buildings have maintenance hanging down on steel ropes, carrying out repairs, cleaning or painting the outer side-walls or the glass windows.
The logic behind having a school break in March always eluded me. The new semester begins in February and logically in case a break is to be given, it got to be in April or May as it would mark the mid-term.
March break also marks the start of the cycling season. The cycles, all stored during the winters makes their appearances on the streets and cycling paths. The number of joggers and walkers also shows a marked increase. Most people, restricted indoors due to the snow and the cold winter now set out to enjoy and welcome the spring. The households become busy with the spring-cleaning of their front and back yards, often with the children helping their parents, to clear the yards of dead plants and shrubs.
The community centres run by the city offers day long activities for children to include swimming, skating, archery, fencing and various coaching classes for tennis, basket ball, soccer etc. There are many outdoor activities conducted for kids during the week like trekking, bird watching, cycling tours, etc. The city and various other youth organisations conduct full day and half day outdoor camps for the kids during the week aimed at learning motor and social skills, improve creativity through play, arts and cultural activities, develop intellectual capacities and concepts through play and many other life skills and above all build greater self esteem and improve their quality of life and health.
The police also utilises the March break to improve the awareness in children and pedestrians with a week-long pedestrian safety campaign called ‘March Break-March Safe.’ The event aims at increasing safety awareness in children during March Break as there are more children and youth walking around on city streets and the police want to make sure everyone stays safe. During the week the Police Officers would be focussing on drivers, cyclists and pedestrians who commit violations that could jeopardize the safety of other pedestrians.
The many museums and libraries offer special programmes for the youth and the young and also many family-friendly activities all week. The Canadian War Museum at Ottawa offers opportunity for children to play strategy board games against opponents. The Ontario science Museum offers kids (age 5-12) an opportunity to carry out exciting science experiments and enjoy exclusive access to the exhibit halls and the speciality is that no parents are allowed to accompany the kids.
When you drive on the roads in the residential areas and find children playing hockey on the roads the entire day, believe it, its March Break and the Spring is here and the warm Summer is not far away.