Sunday, July 01, 2018
happy 151st something, canada
Happy Canada Day to my Canadian acquaintances. Or Dominion Day, if you have trouble turning loose of things.
151 years ago today, Queen Victoria allowed her North American possessions that had stayed loyal to her German family to unite as the Dominion of Canada. Well, at least the colonial parts we now know as Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The other provinces joined later. Newfoundland and Labrador held out until after my birthday in 1949.
Even though the date is often mistakenly called "Canada's birthday" or "Canada's Fourth of July." It isn't. Canada was still a colony controlled by Britain (a legal reality that remained until two acts of the British parliament in 1931 and 1982). Its status was simply upgraded to being a kingdom within the empire. Of course, that monarch was a Hanoverian.
Unlike its southern neighbor who gained its independence in an 8-year war, Canada's independence was evolutionary. And, even now, Canada's head of State is Queen Victoria's great great granddaughter, who appoints a governor-general, her viceroy, to act on her behalf.
All of that regal flummery (as British prime minister Charles Fox called it) is a bit perplexing to American eyes. But we know a good party when we see one.
And parties there will be today in this Canadian colonial outpost. It appears I will be sharing a picnic of hot dogs, corn on the cob, potato salad, and french fries with the few expatriate Canadians who are here in the summer.
We may be in Mexico (where displays of national anthems and flags are severely restricted), but there will be plenty of both. Including today's essay.
I have shared this recording with you twice before. But it is one of the most dignified (without being mawkish) that I have heard.
So, happy Canada Day. Wherever you are.