Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Pour tous les Canadiens que j'ai parfois aimer

Happy day of the Canadianess. Aujourd'hui, a few um, hundred (coulda been hundred) years ago, out of the rocks emerged a country, covered in dew and wide eyed as the moon - and the country was... Canada? It could have been Canada. It could have been Canada sunbathing on the shores of sunny Lake Superior, when it said, Hey, you know what, now I'll be a country. Oh, I just got a pang of the guilt spirits when I remembered that the only reason we exist as we do is because some french and British people with arrows and nothing to lose went across an ocean and killed a lot of people and stole a lot of land. Not the proudest part of our history - and yet that's the whole first chapter. Downer. Anyway, here is the truth, according to Wikipedia, of our dear Day:

On June 20, 1868, then Governor General Lord Monck issued a royal proclamation asking for Canadians to "celebrate the anniversary of the confederation."[5] However, the holiday was not established statutorily until 1879, when it was designated as Dominion Day, in reference to the designation of the country as a Dominion in the British North America Act, 1867. The holiday was initially not dominant in the national calendar; up to the early 20th century, Canadians thought themselves to be primarily British, being thus less interested in celebrating distinctly Canadian forms of patriotism. No official celebrations were therefore held until 1917 – the golden anniversary of Confederation – and then none again for a further decade.[6]

This trend declined in the post-World War II era; beginning in 1958, the Canadian government began to orchestrate Dominion Day celebrations, usually consisting of Trooping the Colour ceremonies on Parliament Hill in the afternoon and evening, followed by a mass band concert and fireworks display. Canada's centennial in 1967 is often seen as an important milestone in the history of Canadian patriotism, and in Canada's maturing as a distinct, independent country, after which Dominion Day became more popular with average Canadians. Into the late 1960s, nationally televised, multi-cultural concerts held in Ottawa were added, and the fĂȘte became known as Festival Canada; after 1980 the Canadian government began to promote the celebrating of Dominion Day beyond the national capital, giving grants and aid to cities across the country to help fund local activities.

The name was officially changed to Canada Day on October 27, 1982, a move largely inspired by the adoption of the Canada Act, earlier in the year. However, many Canadians had already been informally referring to the holiday as Canada Day for a number of years before the official name change.[7]

So to revise my hyperbolized opening to this entry:

Aujourd'hui, a few (26) years ago, out of the rocks emerged not much except maybe a can of beer full of nice manners and good intentions, actually it more like washed up on the shores of a country that was already rocky enough, and someone had it in their minds to finally give a name to this beer drinking, fireworks filled, patriotic (but not too patriotic, because that's not our way) day. And then they made it official. Happiness for all ensued.

You're a dear old country, Canadia. Today I especially miss your rocky shores. In fact, for all your faults I love you to high heaven. And I rave about you often. Canada Day is partly to thank for that. Though perhaps not as much as this little government sponsored blast from the past. Enjoy:

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