Yesterday could have been the last Civic Holiday Monday where retail stores in Sudbury were closed — that is if Sudbury residents vote to change store hours bylaws in October's election.
Even though the restrictions on Civic Holiday haven't gotten as much attention as the questions on Boxing Day or 24-hour shopping, it's easy to spark up that debate in a shopping mall parking lot.
It “would be a good day [for shopping], because you're working during the week. Take advantage of the long weekend,” shopper Roger Geoffroy told CBC News.
Retired miner Leo Lavictoire disagreed.
"They have families and it should be closed. If the stores are closed, you'll go the next day," the Garson man said.
The Sudbury Chamber of Commerce is, so far, the only group registered with the city to campaign publicly on store hours this fall.
President Debbi Nicholson said home improvement businesses have told her that they'd love to open on Civic Holiday.
"To them, it would have been as busy a shopping day as any other day of the year."
Advocating for consistency
The chamber is collecting donations on its website to help fuel its campaign this fall, but Nicholson admits Civic Holiday is not bringing in as many dollars.
"There is varying degrees of support for the questions."
Nicholson said the chamber is planning an "aggressive" campaign focused on "education leading into the referendum vote on Oct. 27.”
Sudbury was one of the only cities in Ontario where retail stores were closed yesterday for the Civic Holiday.
The senior vice-president from the Retail Council of Ontario said he would like to see the same rules across Ontario.
"We do advocate for consistency across the province in store opening hours,” Dave Wilkes said. “Certainly that would provide some benefits to our members who operate in more than one municipality."
Two of the questions to be posed to Sudbury voters in October deal with the bylaw restricting shopping on Civic Holiday and Boxing Day. The third will ask whether stores should be allowed to decide when they open and close.