Happy Canada Day


in Canada, Daily updates, Travel

Fire spinning at Antonia's friend's party

Having read a great deal of twentieth century history, I am naturally aware of the dangers of patriotism. Regardless, I think that it can serve a good social purpose when the character is aspirational rather than affirmational. Having an understanding of Canada as a respectable global citizen creates an understanding of interests that furthers that project. I would never claim that Canada has been unfaltering in the application of its ideals – shameful cases relating to the treatment of the First Nations and immigrants exist in close memory – but I would claim that pride rooted in Canadian ideals and in Canada insofar as it achieves those ideals is a good thing.

Last Canada Day, I was in Ottawa with my brother Sasha, my father, and several of my cousins. I remember being fairly exhausted from having spent the previous night at a party thrown by my very good friend Alison Benjamin, who was living in Toronto at the time. While in Ottawa, we played frisbee on the lawn in front of the Parliament buildings. Several times, the disc flew over the four-foot fence, and one of the police officers on the other side would return it to us. At several other times, we were interrupted by an intermittant thunderstorm, which punctuated the day. Thankfully, it did not emerge during the aggressively bilingual Canadian concert, followed, for us, by poutine eaten on the road in front of Parliament, after the fireworks.

Canada Day 2004, I spent traveling back from Italy, where I spent several weeks with Meghan, her sister, and her friend Tish.

The previous Canada Day was my most Canadian ever: I was paddling northward across Dodd Lake, in the rain, with Meghan. In a nearby canoe – the only people nearby for many kilometres – were my father and my brother Mica. This was during the course of the Powell Forest Canoe Circuit, a shorter and much less crowded alternative to the Bowron Lakes Circuit. It is also better provided for with petites grenouilles, though less well stocked with moose.

In any case, to the 33 million Canadians back home and all my fellow Canadians abroad: Vive Le Canada!

To those in Oxford, remember about the party tonight. I already have large amounts of beer and Tegan & Sara recordings at the ready.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous July 1, 2006 at 5:28 pm

Happy Canada Day. Of all the countries out there, Canada is one that you can be fairly unapologetic about being proud of. After all:

The USA has tanks
Switzerland has banks
They can keep them thanks
They just don’t amount
Cause when you get down to it
You find out what the truth is:
It isn’t what you do with it
It’s the size that counts!

The Arrogant Worms “Canada is Really Big”

B July 1, 2006 at 8:37 pm

Fire spinning is cool, and that shot has excellent geometry. The colour could be better, and it could stand to be a lot less grainy, but I like it overall.

Milan July 1, 2006 at 9:19 pm

Sasha Wiley’s post on Canada Day is much more interesting than mine.

R.K. July 1, 2006 at 6:37 pm

Some trivia for you:

“O Canada” was proclaimed Canada’s national anthem on July 1, 1980, 100 years after it was first sung on June 24, 1880. The music was composed by Calixa Lavallée, a well-known composer; French lyrics to accompany the music were written by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The song gained steadily in popularity. Many English versions have appeared over the years. The version on which the official English lyrics are based was written in 1908 by Mr. Justice Robert Stanley Weir. The official English version includes changes recommended in 1968 by a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons. The French lyrics remain unaltered.

Ben July 3, 2006 at 1:26 pm

We toasted Canada Day, albeit with Polish vodka…

Milan July 3, 2006 at 3:03 pm


That’s fine. We had Danish beer – and that’s after they challenged us for ownership of Hans Island.

A. July 7, 2006 at 5:50 pm

I’m going to have to ask you for a copy of this picture, I’m afraid.

A. July 7, 2006 at 6:05 pm

F. would probably have preferred shots on the web to have him doing some sort of weave or other non-basic thing, but trees and time and fire problems limited what he did at the party. The fire flickering with purple here is great compared to the yellow blur in all other photos of poi spinning I’ve looked at, though – I don’t know if that was possible because he was sorting out the speed and not doing a trick of any sort.

Milan July 7, 2006 at 6:08 pm

Of the five photos I shot, with little awareness of the kind of exposure settings that suit this sort of thing, this was the best.

As for getting a copy… it only exists as a digital file. The digital file up there…

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