The streets were thronged with thousands so that you could barely move in the crowd! Most were decked in red, and carried all manner of maple leafs—on their hats, their jerseys, their hoodies, the flags they waved, even their shoes. And spontaneously the crowds burst into the singing of our national anthem.
It was the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Never were we so proud to be Canadian!
The Olympics ended, and we applauded the introduction of a new Walmart into our neighbourhood. Never mind that the world’s largest retailer, a US company, would quickly snuff out the smaller neighbourhood store owned by a local family. Walmart would save us money.
The football season started, and we watched NFL instead of CFL, and we played NFL rules in high school. Never mind that the Canadian game is more exciting and supports many more Canadian families. But then comes the NBA draft, and a Canadian is selected first overall. Even though we Canadians don’t care much about the NBA (witness the long-departed Grizzlies), it makes top headline on the day’s news.
We watch American Idol but run Canadian Idol off the airwaves for its (supposedly substandard) results. But then third place finisher Carly Rae Jepson strikes it big; and Hedley, who didn’t even make third place, goes huge, based on his Canadian Idol exposure. We’re proud of them; they’re local and they’re Canadian!
We’re alarmed that no Canadian team has won the cherished Stanley Cup for 20 years. But we’re ecstatic when the Leafs get beat year after year.
We cross the border to shop for those “great American deals,” forgetting to calculate the dollar (and environmental) cost of idling vehicles in the two-hour border line-up, and the higher taxes we’ll pay to make up for the loss of revenue going south.
We’re ecstatic when Target enters our market by buying out the child of a great Canadian tradition. And when Nordstrom’s moves into Vancouver. And when Starbucks knocks out the local coffee bistro. And when the American Home Depot challenges Canadian counterpart Rona.
And then comes the July first weekend. And we make a huge deal about Canada Day. We turn it into one of the biggest parties of the year.
Is it just the chance to party, with live bands on every outdoor stage possible, and jugglers and clowns, and kids activities, and carnival rides, and a happy atmosphere?
Is it a celebration of the start of summer, with sunny skies, long days and the kids now out of school?
Or is it a chance to declare once again that it’s great to be a Canadian (whatever that means).
I think it’s all three.
Have a good one!