Editorial: I’m a boomer and sure remember 1967, Canada’s 100th birthday, particularly Expo 67 in Montreal. I went with my girlfriends and my mother was terrified that we’d be captured into white slavery when using the public washrooms (aside from what we’d catch sitting on the toilet seats). The top song in 1967 was (drumroll) “Canada”. Not “Oh Canada” but a feel good sort of dorky one by the Young Canadian Singers. You can listen to it here.
Many Canadians remember nothing of 1967. Its images, as strong as they were, are fading. So we need some new ones and Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017 is the occasion. Now some folks are acting a little ho-hum about the birthday and in my books they’re just boring. Then there’s Jim Watson, a man who’s not afraid to think big. Watson happens to be mayor of Ottawa, Canada’s capital, and he has invited the world to his 2017 party.
Canadians are a modest people and may think the world won’t come. There are good reasons why they might though (besides promises of good times), like our loonie cratering; that we’re just about giving away our gas; soon-to-be President-elect Donald Trump may erect a wall; and Mexicans won’t need a visa.
I wonder if Mayor Watson remembers the time when Ottawa’s winter carnival was held on Dow’s Lake and the crowd was way too big and the ice got soft and ice sculptures started sinking along with the people? What will happen on July 1st when the world arrives on Parliament Hill for the fireworks? Now that will be some party and the hill may be no more!
There should be more to 2017 than hooping it up at Watson’s bash and you should sit down with family and friends and make plans. Do something special. See a place in Canada that’s always been in the cards but you never got around to.
Maybe this will be the year when Quebecers travel to southern Ontario and English-speaking Canadians to Quebec. That Nova Scotians will get over to Newfoundland and Labrador and those driving across the prairies will get off the TransCanada.
Perhaps we can have a cross county campfire day (would that do damage to the environment?) and roast s’mores (put a marshmallow and layer of chocolate between two graham crackers) and sing “Fires burning, fires burning” or if you’re doing this in the Rockies or the North, “The bear went over the mountain”. A national singsong.
That’s perhaps cornier than the Young Canadian Singer’s “Canada”. But let’s not procrastinate too long and let Mayor Watson have all the fun.
Sylvia Fanjoy, editor and co-owner
© Riding the buses™ 2016