Canada Day 2009


Happy Canada Day!

Well, I suppose that there are a lot of people out there who didn’t know that today was Canada Day (well it was today when I was writing this). You are forgiven! Just mark it in your Calendar for next year. July 1st.

Growing up in Canada, for us, it was a family day. We would all get together – aunts & uncles & their partners & all my cousins (there are about 30 of us – my Mom is from a very large family) & we would have a bbq, play games, go swimming, have cake & beer (for the adults) & they would gather on the lawn & play horseshoes & gossip, or watch hockey in the basement. In short – it was a great day!

Since moving over here Canada Day has had to out of necessity become very different. The only family I have over here is my OH & we don’t have a back yard, so the bbq is out! In the past (before there was an OH) I would make sure I had the day off work & would head into London, to Covent Garden – Maiden Lane, to be exact. There, every year, they would cordon off the street & thousands of Canucks would gather on the street, in the bars & pubs & have a big party. We’d stand on the street singing Canadian songs, drinking Canadian beer, wearing our Canadian hearts on our sleeves (and tattoo’d all over our bodies with temporary tattoos that had been bought at the Canada Shop, or sent over from home).

After a few hours those brave enough to risk not getting back onto Maiden Lane would amble down the Strand to Canada House for a rousing rendition of O Canada at noon, followed by Canadian entertainers performing for us, more Canadian beer (free this time), Canadian Wine & a couple slices of Canada Day birthday cake. Slowly we would make our way back to Maiden Lane & shimmy into spot (hopefully a prime spot!), where we would remain for the rest of the evening. Those were great nights – I remember one year reading an article in the national press the next day an article about the party, commenting that there were 5000+ people crammed into one tiny street & the worst thing that happened was that someone was arrested for climbing a street light. I made many great “friends” those nights – none of whom I have ever seen again, but they were my best friends at the time.

I guess you could say it was kinda like my Glastonbury, only the people doing the singing were 100% amature. Sadly the last football world cup brought an end to the Canada Day celebrations on Maiden Lane. The Government/police got involved & wouldn’t allow us to have the party because England were playing that day & they were afraid that if England lost the celebrations could turn ugly if they were infiltrated by football fans looking for a fight. There were no Canada Day celebrations that year.

Luckily, the celebrations are back, but now there are very different. It’s now become a bit of a business, & a lot less like a family party. It all takes place in Trafalger Square where you can have bison burgers, drink Canadian Beer & Tim Hortons coffee & eat timbits. You can listen to Canadian entertainers & sign up for the street hockey tournament, chat up a couple Mounties in full dress uniform or visit the Tourism pavillion to plan your next trip to Canada………………………I miss the old Canada Day!

Oh well, I guess something is better than nothing – gotta make sure I am able to get back there next year!

Happy Canada Day everyone!


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