Friday, July 1, 2011


It's Canada's birthday today!  Happy birthday Canada, and happy Canada DAY, all my Canadian friends.  Canada is 114 this year.  Canada is also a very interesting political landscape (oh shut up, you knew that shit was coming as surely as you know I'm going to talk about hockey in a minute).  Canada Day celebrates when the chunks of the Great White North were actually linked together as a federation and became a real live kingdom, with Britain riding political herd over it.  That's not exceptionally unique situation in terms of colonialization, but the cool stuff went down in 1982 when Canada patriated its Constitution. Not repatriated, but patriated.  Because Britain was still the Constitutional authority, Canada didn't have complete political autonomy, so they basically claimed the Constitution - with some adjustment - as being Canada's, for the sake of ruling Canada.  Cool, right?

I've been thinking a lot about Canada in the past couple years as my faith in the republic's ability to reassert itself has wavered, and there's a lot to recommend it to anyone.  A comprehensive listing of what I like about Canada would be too long and verbose for anyone of sound mind to tolerate, but here's a short list:
  • Hockey forever - the Montreal Canadiens, for rivalry purposes the Toronto Maple Leafs, the juniors system, its stature as the majority sport from sea to shining sea up there, pond hockey, hockey on Canadian currency, and fans who know how to fan properly (which is to say, not causing an aggressive and ill-timed ruckus during games and not walking down the aisles during play oh my God why why why does this happen and why won't it stop)...
  • Tim Horton's coffee and the strange existence of strawberry TimBits
  • Peter Jennings, whose news broadcasts shaped the way I consider news when I was a kid. Yes, really, he's Canadian!
  • the Canadian relationship to nature and a general understanding that you should not assault it 
  • The Tragically Hip, for not only being excellent but also excellently named
  • a willingness to shore up and preserve Canadian products and enterprises 
  • Don Cherry and his suits, even if he's getting kind of senile and crotchety and nonsensey.  (Suits. You're welcome.)
  • Montreal, and specifically Ste. Catherine Street and Spa Eastman on Sherbrooke Ouest
  • Romeo Dallaire, his attempt to save Rwanda, his openness about how badly its failure screwed him up, and his unending dedication to humanitarianism
  • perhaps most importantly, a general sense that Canada is all in the project of Canada together, even when at odds with specific neighbors or coworkers or what have you, i.e. none of this designating certain people as real or fake Canadians as is currently in vogue in the States
That barely scratches the surface of what I enjoy about Canada, but it's a good broad-strokes starting point.  I was going to post a nice picture of Canadians celebrating, but when I googled for "Canadian pride" this happened:
Well hello, Shawn Ashmore.
...and really, I think we're done here.

O Canada indeed.


  1. Josie, you hit 3 of the top 4 reasons to love Canada (hockey, Tim Horton's, and Don Cherry, in that order) but missed the number one reason to LOVE Canada....William Shatner. And if you need any proof, I refer you to his performance of "O, Canada" recently posted on Facebook.

  2. You forgot to mention Dan Han!