Canada Day, seriously?

Things have changed in every avenue of life since my first experience with Canada Day, which was back at the beginning of the 1970’s, when I found myself stranded in Thunder Bay, Ontario, on a date when nothing was open except the movies and Dairy Queen. It as quiet all day, deadly hot, and the movie that I ended up paying to see (while also enjoying a couple hours of air conditioning) was Clockwork Orange. Supper was a Dilly Bar.  My memories of the holiday that year are…jaded.

Last year’s Canada Day I spent in what seems to be an endless plane ride, including an unscheduled overnight stay in Chicago.

This year, I am seeing the updated, Atlantic Canada version, which seems to include a propensity for sticking flags in one’s ponytail (girls, any age) or the back of the baseball cap (guys of only a certain age). Clearly these folks haven’t heard the warnings against wearing red (or blue) in certain neighbourhoods, because the streets are awash in garments the true hue of the Canadian flag:  windbreakers, peddle pushers, t-shirts, baby blankets.  Some shops are open (wouldn’t have been as hungry here and now if my circumstances had been what they were in Thunder Bay all those years ago) but mostly people are out walking, as though the whole outdoors is a festival.

At the band stand in the Public Gardens, there’s a coed band covering Beatles’ songs (well enough to be recognizable.  On the Common, some other event is underway but from across the road all I can see is the crowd as a sea of red and a bit of white. The amount of hot dogs being consumed seems to be commensurate with what will happen south of the border this weekend. Every man, woman and grandma seems to be snarfling them down like there’s a prize in every bun.

Counterpoint to all that, every work crew is also out in force, so the digging at my doorstep has been ceaseless, as has the quarry-like pounding down the street at the Trillium site.

So, the part about “statutory holiday,” still eludes me, but folks sure do seem to be putting their all into the day.


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