Vancouver likes to boast it throws “Canada’s largest birthday celebration outside of Ottawa” while Surrey, not to be outdone, lays claim to a smaller celebration it nonetheless insists is “the largest Canada Day celebration in western Canada.”
Having a longstanding Canada Day tradition of our own involving watching old episodes of Degrassi, tossing some poutine on the barbecue and hoisting a few glasses of Canadian Club mixed with Canada Dry before making love to a canoe, we weren’t able to attend or weigh in on the respective sizes of either event. Below average crowds, however, were reported at both, and Vancouver police only managed four measly arrests for public intoxication. Meanwhile in our Commercial Drive neighbourhood, more people seemed to be waving or wearing Italian and Spanish flags than the Maple Leaf.
There are no doubt many explanations for the smaller turnout. Maybe it was the chance of showers. Could be some Lower Mainlanders are saving their patriotic fervour for the upcoming Olympics, still recovering from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration and/or are simply from Quebec. Possibly it’s due to the sober sudden realization that the first citizen born on Canada’s centennial, Pamela Anderson, is now 45-years-old (or at least most of her is) and nobody wants to watch her running down a beach in slow motion any more.
Or maybe the Courier’s Fiona Hughes touched a nerve last week when she wrote about the deep dismay many Canadians feel about some of the more sinister changes made to the country after Stephen Harper finally got handed a majority government. Her column on boycotting the holiday in protest quickly became one of our website’s most viewed stories since K&K’s latest interview with Roberto Luongo’s Tender Groin, and at one point Sunday the Twitter hashtag #DenounceHarper was trending nationwide well ahead of the cheerier #HappyCanadaDay.
The country’s birthday is, after all, every Canadian’s party. We can cry if we want to.
(This post was first published in Kudos & Kvetches © Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier)