I am always a little uneasy about Canada Day. Any public displays of overt patriotism – anywhere – do not sit well with me; I’m a World-Without-Borders type of hippy. This year, with all the contrived emphasis on construction of “Canada 150”, the butt-clenching discomfort is worse than usual. Canada isn’t 150 years old. It’s been 150 years since various factions organised themselves into a nation state. If that really had been an end to the preceding colonialism, cultural genocide and abject racism, then it would be worth celebrating. However, it seems more like Canada has spent 150 years ignoring all that (at best). So, what exactly are we celebrating?
When we told friends that Carl had lost his job, everyone, and I do mean everyone‘s first reaction was “If you need anything, just ask”.
Our local church holds pancake breakfasts to raise funds for Syrian refugees, and even ran adverts for “Camp Trash and Filth: Queer City Cinema” outside its door.
Yesterday we spent a happy afternoon with 4 out of 6 of the neighbour’s kids helping us pick all the cherries off our tree and swapping jam recipes.
I had a really successful day on the Farmers’ Market on Saturday, plenty of comments along the lines of “I love your accent!”, and sealing my reputation as “that weird British woman who brings Caffeine”. (A description I wholeheartedly endorse.)
A proactive couple down the street applied for a permit and organised a Canada day block party last week – everyone brought food and drinks to share, we had a fire in the middle of the potholes, and the kids all camped in each other’s houses without a care in the world. And we actually met and chatted with our neighbours properly. This is a first, for us.
Last week, I got a call from the owner of the Junction, a cool and quirky salon and art studio, inviting me to bring my coffee cart there and discuss “co-lab” projects because she wants me to join in as part of the Junction community. It was so lovely to be asked!
Today it is 32 degrees Celsius and we have slopped on the sunscreen and are heading to the splash park, just one of many elaborate, wonderful and free facilities that the city provides for kids.
For all these things, and many more, I am proud and grateful to call Canada our home.