A celebration of diversity on Canada’s 150th birthday
It should be on everyone’s bucket list to stand on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Canada day.
The place is packed. You can’t scratch your nose without poking your elbow at someone.
There is anticipation and pride in the air and when the Snowbirds fly in formation above the Hill, the reverberating engine noise makes your hair stand on its end. You might even shed a few tears with pride. I have.
This year will be even more special as we are celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday. That is, a hundred and fifty years a bunch of British lords passed the British North America Act of 1867, to create a new, domestically self-governing federation, consisting of provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. To the British it was as unremarkable as the un-witnessed tree fall in the forest.
But to Canadians this was a big to-do. It finally gave backpackers something to put on their backpacks when they travel abroad so that they are not mistaken for Americans. I also gave some Americans something to put on their backpacks to evade detection. It gave Australian youth a completely new destination for their eternal walkabouts.
Actually, I’m kidding, the Maple Leaf was adopted nearly a hundred years later on February 15, 1965. By then the remaining 5 provinces and territories had all joined in into a happy family of maple syrup loving pancake eaters.
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When Newfoundland and Labrador joined the Canadian confederation in 1949, the unincorporated township of Dildo, added a completely new dimension to the country.
Dildo is located on the southeastern Dildo Arm of Trinity Bay about 60 kilometres west of St. John’s. South Dildo is a neighboring unincorporated community. Sometimes when the day is clear, whale enthusiasts get to see sperm whales cavorting in the Bay of Dildo.
When people from Dildo travel, they too put Maple Leaf flags on their backpacks. Thankfully there is no Dildo flag.
I’m told that as a result of the last US presidential elections, many US citizens as contemplating moving to the Atlantic provinces of Canada. Should you end up in Dildo, I advise to use the nickname Dick for boys named Richard.
But Dildo is quintessentially Canadian in its uniqueness, same as Flin Flon in Manitoba, Vulcan in Alberta, or Swastika in Ontario. Yes there is a place called Swatika. They too don’t have their own flag.
How could the people who live in these places share the same cultural identity? Is it something in the maple syrup, the poutine, Nanaimo bars, smoked salmon, or butter tarts?
During the last Stanley Cup playoffs, I mistakenly watched a bit of a hockey game in Punjabi. After five minutes, I’d picked up only two words: puck and goal. I’m pleased to report that there is no Punjabi word for puck.
I’m told ice skating is not big in Punjab. But it is big in Canada.
A single piece of hard rubber is gluing us together and has made us uniquely Canadian.
Hockey is the fabric of the Canadian culture the same way rugby became a unifying force in post-Apartheid South Africa’s 1995 Rugby World Cup triumph, captured in the film Invictus.
Hockey is complexly apolitical. If we were in the US, someone would find a way to politicize the iconic hockey puck to match their political agenda. There would be political rallies. There would be demonstrations by puck heads. Someone might even try to displace the stars on American Flag with hockey pucks. Someone would refuse to sign the national anthem.
But not in Canada. We are fiercely apolitical. We are Canadians.
In the meantime, the citizens of Dildo are looking for a pleasurable July 1 celebration
Dr. Luc C. Duchesne is a Speaker and Author with a PhD in Biochemistry. With three decades of scientific and business experience, he has published ... <Read more about Dr. Luc Duchesne>