My home and native land is celebrating a special birthday this week. July 1st marks 150 years since the confederation of Canada in 1867. Although I’m feeling sad not to be there for the event, I still remember the party we had 50 years ago.
The summer of 1967 marked a lot of milestones for me. Perhaps it was the first time I became aware that ours was a bilingual country. At school we all learned a special song to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday. There were English and French versions, and each had some of the other’s lyrics so we had to sing a bit in French.
The province of Ontario also did its own song for the centennial, ‘Give us a place to stand’. Now it seems they’ve done a remake for the 150th. A lot of people seem to be offended by that, but I’m just glad to be from a country that has groups with names like Ginger Ale and the Monowhales.
It was also the summer I turned ten. My grandmother took me to see Expo ’67 in Montreal. That was a big deal too, my first time in French-speaking Canada and the first trip without my parents (if memory serves, which it may not as it was all a very long time ago).
A lot has changed since then. In 1967 we sung about being 20 million strong. Now we’ve grown to over 35 million. Back then the concept of Canada as a multicultural mosaic vs. the melting pot of the USA was new; now it’s part of who we are. Back then we were much more aware of our French and British roots. We didn’t have much of a sense of our country as having its own identity, or wave either of our flags. Perhaps the centennial celebrations helped change all that.
What hasn’t changed? Well, we still have a leader called Trudeau. Who can rival Macron for being young and hot, as leaders go.
I am not going to pretend to know anything much about Canada’s current politics, but I have been along for the ride during the last half century. And although the most recent years have been in France, Canada still feels very much like my homeland. Mon pays.
How can you tell? I’ve posted before about feeling pulled into two directions as a dual citizen. But it comes down to a few simple things:
I apologize a lot.
But never for the fact that beer is my favourite drink.
When the temperature drops, I feel happy.
When it freezes, I can’t wait to get my skates on.
When it snows, I still light the barbecue.
I believe that everyone has a right to healthcare.
And I can’t help but clap when the plane lands.
Happy Canada Day, eh?