July 23, 2017
Canada Day, Eh?
On July 1, Canada turned 150. There had never been such a magnitudinous celebration of the country's...countriness! Well, not since 1967, when Canada turned 100. But since, according to a Statscan study that will be published 50 years from now, less than three per cent of the country's current population had been alive for that event, the federal department of Ignoring Inconvenient History conveniently ignored it.
Me? I spent the day looking for a peak Canadian experience, something that leapt out at me from behind a maple tree and shouted, "This is what being Canadian is all about!" in a rumbly voice that resembled a moose call.
On the big day, I went down to Harbourfront, figuring that the best place to truly appreciate Canada would be across the lake from the United States. (Oh, cut me some slack; I'm new to this whole celebrating 150 years of countryhood thing!) When I arrived, I found Torontonians going about their business, blissfully unaware that a celebration lurked very close to where they were businessing. Okay, the trees are clearly not maple. But you could almost hear a rumbly voice whisper, "Canada is just a short swim away."
What? You've never heard a moose whisper? Pfft - call yourself a Canadian!
As I approached my peak Canadian experience, I realized that it was very...yellow. Very yellow. Like the Canadian flag!
Umm, okay, so the Canadian flag is actually red and white. But, I'll bet it looks yellow if you've drunk enough Molson Canadian! Umm...no other beer, just Canadian. Because 150. And, okay, maybe your eyes wouldn't work that way - as somebody who doesn't drink alcohol, I'm just guessing, here. But, if you drank enough of it, the whites of your eyes would turn yellow, and isn't that a small price to pay to celebrate your country's significant birthday?
All of the people walking towards the yellow symbol of Canada's Canadianness obviously thought so.
And, big. As befits a country that has so much land our population is only slightly more dense than the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Compare that yellow symbol of Canadianness to the mere mortals walking around it - it's gotta be at least four times their height! So, take the pride an average Canadian feels in their country and multiply it by four - that's a lot of pride to be contained in a single symbol!
And...coy? As befits a country that...umm...would take five minutes to get around to asking a cute young country for a date and wouldn't even hold hands "until we get to know each other a little better." A country that would prefer to take you home to meet its parents before it French kissed you. A country, in short, that acted like a 15 year-old stuck between hormones and social convention. How could anybody resist that?
The moose grinned, unaffected by the symbol's coyness. Cynical bastard.
I turned a corner and came face to face with Canada. It turned out that Canada was...a big rubber duck? That is what I invested all that national pride in?
I heard the sound of a moose laughing its ass off. Or, possibly choking on an undercooked French fry in its poutine. Or, It may just have been trouble in one of the engines of a plane taking off from the island airport. But I preferred to think it was a symbol of Canadianness with a digestion issue, prompting the question: how do you perform the Heimlich manoeuvre on a moose?
Asking questions like that is just my way of being patriotic.
Nearby, the ship Toronto was allowing people limited access to celebrate Canada Day. Because nothing speaks more to a country's commitment to keeping the peace than showing off its weapons of war. I might have been more impressed if the guns had been trained on the big rubber duck...
Of course, the moose sat up and took notice. In the animal kingdom, moose are staunch Conservatives, second only to blue jays in their right wing views. Doing my best to ignore it, I started to think that my quest for Canadianness on the country's 150th birthday was going to be in vain.
Then, later that evening...
What could be more Canadian than watching fireworks stream off the CN Tower while enjoying a double double at a Tim Hortons? Okay, discussing the appropriate level of federal funding for provincial health care plans while watching fireworks stream off the CN Tower while enjoying a double double at a Tim Hortons. I guess I'm not the best Canadian, then, because that is a policy too far. Still, however lacing, I had found my Canadian moment.
Somewhere in the country, a moose laughed its ass off. How do I know it was laughter? This moose had a heart condition and had been put on a low cholesterol diet...