So I’ve directed your gaze to a film about Canadian name-dropping, and another to that incredible creative machine, the National Film Board. Encouraged you to drop your drawers and jump in the lake at twilight, and if not, pick up a canoe paddle and give it a try. It’s always better in a canoe, naked or not.
Truly, if we all do only one thing tomorrow it’s this: relish our freedom.
Free to protest.
Free to learn, especially things we weren’t taught. Freedom to listen.
Free to be angry.
Free to welcome.
Free to love.
Free to wander.
Free to wonder at the myriad stories. There is no one ritual but many beautiful customs and I toast them all.
Especially free ones like listening to a bunch of new Canadian music playlists. Who doesn’t like to be reminded of our greats? Joni makes everyone’s lists, and so does Leonard, Feist, K.D Lang, Gordon Lightfoot…and Celine. Apparently she’s cool again. Years ago she graced our green room at Global TV, my old stomping grounds. She was endearing and humble and a family person above anything else. Kind of like most Canadians I know. But I digress…
All holidays are hard for some people, especially those disconnected from the central narratives. Be cautious about branding. Even as I say it, I know I date myself. We live in the age of branding. To hell with it.
Are we nice? Are we polite? Are we tolerant?
We are free.
I choose to believe we are moving forward together. I choose to believe our welcome mat is a worthy symbol, no matter how big a loser that makes me, Steven Marche.
It has become abundantly clear in 2017 that patriotism is for losers. Patriotism is for people and for countries that need to justify their existence through symbols rather than achievements.
This week, a dear friend welcomed a new family into her embrace. She and a generous Toronto based collective have sponsored a new family’s arrival from Eritrea and the pictures and stories of this initiative are so bloody inspiring that I want to cry. It is theirs to cherish and I wish them all the bounty this vast land has to offer. Here is how my wonderful bighearted friend Deb (the best kind of Canadian there is) described Day 2 with her new friends:
They are smart and adaptable and are picking up our ways very quickly. It is truly remarkable.
Happy Canada Day. Be glorious. Be free. Be adaptable and remember those who can’t celebrate today. They are in our hold too.
They may say it’s too hard, it’s too ambitious. Well, I say love is ambitious.
Peter and I spent many Canada Days in Ottawa. This year we’ll skip the crowds. What does your Canada Day look like?