"Isn't it weird that everyone takes their vacation at the same time?"
Those words resonate through my mind to this day. I heard them while riding a chairlift during Christmas break when I was in high school. While recreational related facilities sit relatively idle during the week, we put up with over crowding on weekends and holidays just so we can have some sort of continuity between business, school, and family that only comes with a 9-5 schedule.
The population of Alberta has grown over 35% since I heard those words. The long weekend gives you that extra day to maybe think about driving further, but now I rarely explore past Canmore, where I have a place to stay. The highways still move fairly freely unless there is an accident or construction, it's not difficult to find adventures off the beaten path and it's possible to time grocery trips around peak times. Being someone who hesitates and has the "fear of missing out" associated with not doing the raddest thing possible on any given weekend, I typically wait until the last minute to decide what I want to do. This doesn't work on long weekends. If you want guaranteed accomodations you must book early or be S.O.L. Then it rains. Or snows. Or they close the backcountry on you the Friday before the weekend!