Canada Day

Originally written for eVent! [ep] magazine on 06/22/06.

I am going to have to be honest with you, I do not like holidays and I never have. I understand why people do like holidays, it’s a day off work, but for me that’s never held much allure. I typically have to work the holiday anyway, and having everyone else in the world on a day off generally just makes life harder for those people who do have to work.

Now in a typical article, having established my holiday hating credentials, I’d probably say something like, “Except for Canada Day, which is a noble holiday that I enjoy immensely.” I’d then go on to write about how I just love Canada Day, and how it stands above any of the other holidays out there by virtue of its… ummmm virtues. However the fact is that Canada Day is the worst of them, aside from New Year’s Eve Canada Day is my most hated holiday. Canada Day manages to embody everything I dislike about holidays, while having none of the redeeming features of the best holidays.

Now you’re probably wondering why I hate Canada Day. Is it because I’m anti-Canada? Is it because I hate Canada, or simply hate having a good time? Let’s set the records straight, I do not hate Canada. I don’t hate beer and I don’t hate having a good time. I just really dislike Canada Day.

I suppose I should start backing up my assertion that Canada Day is the worst holiday. Now this goes for any national day type of holiday, so if I were American I’d also hate the Fourth of July. It’s not about hating the country that I’m from it’s just that I really hate the holiday.

Now I enjoy a good drink, and I enjoy drinking with friends. What I don’t enjoy is a holiday based around a beer company concept of nationalism. Let’s face it the general idea of what should be done on a Canada Day is laze around the yard in the sun drinking Molson Canadian, and then driving downtown to drink in City Park and watch the fireworks. Following watching the fireworks everyone climbs in their car and tries to escape downtown, a process that tends to take about a week and a half because of traffic.

I’ve seen fireworks. I’ve seen the Canada Day fireworks over the lake at least four times. I’ve seen them while on a boat on the lake, while on the roof of the Paramount Theatre, while on Knox Mountain and from a pier in the Mission. I’ve seen the Symphony of Fire fireworks in Vancouver, and fireworks in Edmonton. No matter how many times I see fireworks I can never understand, why people like them. I can see them being impressive back in pre-medieval China when they were developed, but today I think between twenty-four hour cable television news and the sorts of special effects that we see in movies, it’s time to stop being awed by fireworks.

There are a lot of good things about Canada Day. A number of people use the day to officially become Canadian citizens. Some people use the day to reflect on how lucky we are to be Canadian and to live in a country where we enjoy a standard of living undreamed of in most of the rest of the world, and for most of the rest of human history. Yet the trouble is the holiday is not really about that anymore, and it never really was. We didn’t win a great military victory against England on July 1st, we simply signed a few papers and became independent in that quiet Canadian way of ours. To celebrate that by getting drunk in public and being impressed with fireworks seems somewhat, off.

Still if you’re one of those people who enjoy Canada Day, then I wish you a happy Canada Day. If you’re one of the many people who will become a Canadian on Canada Day, then welcome and congratulations. Don’t let the people vomiting on the sidewalk on their way to their cars, or the three-week lineup to leave downtown after the fireworks, make you regret your decision. We’re generally much better behaved.