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Canadian Traditions

July 10, 2009

Libing canadian flag in victoria on Canada Day 2009

Happy belated Canada Day to all.

I’ve lived in Toronto and Vancouver and been to various Canada Day celebrations throughout the years.  Usually quite dull actually.  I’ve never made it to Ottawa for the big day yet but now it will finally have something to live up to because Victoria, BC knows how to celebrate 142 years of Canuck awesomeness.  The whole city was alive with the celebration, Victoria is big enough to feel busy but small enough that a big holiday like this takes over the city.  I was part of a living flag composed of 1200 patriotic, and very patient, Canadians wearing red or white commemorative shirts.  We all stood in the hot sun for almost 45 minutes while the camera crews went up and down the firetruck crane three times to get good shots.  I’m in the maple leaf on the left just beside the stem, see me, no? Well, that may be because the people running it don’t know about 3GB cameras, the resolution is stunningly, stunningly, low for a picture that took that much work to set up, but I digress.  Join them next year when they will try to get 2010 people to form an even bigger living flag.

The fireworks that night were great of course, but it was the party afterwards that blew me away.  In Toronto, Canada Day is big, but you know, not so big that you are forced to notice it if you try not to and its certainly not seen as a huge excuse for a party.  On the streets of Victoria on July 1 is was like New Years Eve with hords of people young and old singing, drinking, dancing to street music and fighting (just a bit).  It was amazing, its was heart stirring, it was almost un-Canadian in its celebration of Canada.  It was great.

On a related note perhaps there is a growing comfort in Canada about being really openly proud and patriotic about the True North Strong and Free.  This would be understandable as we’ve sort all grown up since ’82 and in just another 10 years it will be time for a real party as Canada reaches the ripe, respectable age of 150.  Some people are apparently already planning that party.  Over at Mez Dispenser there is a post on this which includes a very graphic (and maybe a bit chilling) demonstration of one of the implications of our monarchy.

I’m actually fairly pro-monarchy but I have to say seeing Chuck on our coins is a bit, well, odd.  Of course, currency  would only be a a very minor part of the transition.  Constitutionally, we would need to adapt to having a different head of state, we can’t even agree on what to do about the senate how do we have a discussion about our head of state?  Do we become a Republic with an elected/appointed ceremonial president?  Do we keep the GG but simply make them head of state rather than Monarch’s representative?  Could we elect the GG?  Then who do we put on our money? Who do our troops sweart allegiance to, you know they swear oath to the Queen now, you know that right?

There are lots of things that would need to change and I’m not sure its really worth it, the ceremony of monarchy is an important binding for a young country such as ours.  We are developing a few ceremonies of our own, Remeberance Day ceremonies are perhaps the strongest.  Maybe Livings flags on Canada Day would be a could be another. Lets see more of them next year.

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