I became aware of Canada’s National Housing Day in 2006. At the time, I was working with CMHC – Canada’s national housing agency, and local affordable housing advocates had decided to mark November 22 as a day to draw attention to the need for affordable housing in many cities across Canada.
I was convinced from that day, that CMHC should be part of the day, applauding the efforts of our partners in affordable housing, and sharing stories of progress and success, in communities across the country.
While I seemed able to make a compelling case with colleagues on a one-to-one basis, I could never get the whole of CMHC to share my vision. For years, the Affordable Housing Centre seemed to be the only team, dedicating resources to mark the day.
Fast-forward 10 years and CMHC has a new President in the name of Evan Siddall, a highly functional and cohesive Executive Committee and a new Liberal Government making housing an important item on its agenda, and National Housing Day became a greater focal point.
I can assure you, that I felt much joy and gratification at seeing the commitment and the strong connection between CMHC and National Housing Day, like I had envisioned years before. So imagine my surprise yesterday, two years later, when I had completely forgotten about it!
On November 22, 2018 – I completely forgot about Canada’s National Housing Day.
In fairness, I was spending the day in Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala and can claim that I was distracted. I was also at sea with approximately 2,000 Americans who were celebrating November 22nd as their Thanksgiving, and that seemed to be the buzz of the day.
However, for the last 12 years, I have felt very strongly about this day, and November 22 was embedded in my mind.
- It is the day after my father’s birthday.
- It is one of the reasons why I never took vacation at this time, and why I was never able to take the Panama Canal Cruise, which was always scheduled for this time of the year.
But this year, I retired from CMHC, and I guess ….. I retired. I am on a cruise through the Panama Canal, and not waking with the thought that it was National Housing Day yesterday, was evidence that I have indeed walked away from 20 amazing years in Housing, and started the next chapter in my life.
The affordable housing cause is still very important and worthwhile. The government has just renewed its commitment with a 10-year $40 billion plan, creating a new generation of energy-efficient, accessible housing in Canada. The strategy aims to build or repair hundreds of thousands of affordable and rental housing units, and CMHC is working closely with provinces, municipalities and private and experienced non-profit developers to help meet the demands of affordable housing in communities and cities across the country.
National Housing Day is a day worthy of remembering, retired or not…..and for giving thanks, American or not.