Canada’s 150th

 

Today my home and native land celebrates its 150th year!  To commemorate, I’ve put together another list- a list of my favourite Canadian icons and memories.

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  1. Red Green show-  ‘Red’ was always trying to fix things with the most insane replacements, or putting everything together with duct tape.  When I look at my family’s projects – or even my own- I think I can still see some of his influence.
  2. Don Cherry’s suits- I’m sorry, but I must admit that I’m not all that keen on hockey (or any other sport, really). But when Hockey Night in Canada is playing I do peek in.  Part of it is so that I could see the score, but mostly I just want to see the pattern on Don Cherry’s suit.
  3. The Vinyl Café- I’ve mentioned the Vinyl Café before. I’d listen in on the car radio while coming back from Church.  Sometimes I’d catch the story exchange, which was my favourite part.  I remember one late Canada day night, after a fantastic fireworks display, I was delighted to find the Vinyl Café playing on the radio.  It topped the celebration for me.  
  4. Poutine- I love poutine- although it’s a dish I actually associate with traveling, mostly. When I was leaving for Wales last year, I wanted my last meal before departure to be that classic Canadian dish.  But the plane was ready to leave before I was, as is so often the way.  I spent more than a page of my travel journal mourning over never being able to eat the poutine.
  5. Watching Canada Win Gold in the 2010 Olympics hockey game- Despite what I said in point two, the 2010 Olympics gold winning hockey game was epic. A refugee community had invited us to watch the game with them.  There were as many people as the apartment could hold- which created that classic sports atmosphere. It’s not an atmosphere I’m used to, but it’s hard to feel claustrophobic when you’re shouting “Goooooooaaaaal! Gooooooold!”
  6. Canoeing at night and listening to the slap of beaver tails- Laternlitboat 003I took this photo on one of our late night boating excursions. I paddled about in a canoe kayak hybrid, with little plastic tea candles taped on each end.  The rest of my family packed in the lantern adorned rowboat, the only other boat on the river.  And yet we were not alone. All together we had eleven beaver encounters, all but one of them said their farewells with a signature slap of the tail on the water.    
  7. Every time the Canada geese fly overhead- The sight of a flock of Canada geese flying overhead always makes me happy.   I’m told that when I was younger, I would see the geese and say ‘I’m toud to be a Tatadian’.  My uncle seems to have gotten quite the kick out of that, and reminds me of it every time he sees the geese.   
  8. Skating on the neighbour’s pond- Skating outdoors will always be more enjoyable than skating indoors, risk aside. We used to toss rocks into the middle of our neighbour’s pond, to see if they would go through the ice or not.  If not, Dad would get his drill and test the ice to see if it was firm.  If so, we would all dig our skates out of the closet.  Alas, that pond no longer exists.  But we’ve made skating rinks out of tarps on the drive-way before, and we could do it again.
  9. Pennies- I bought a coffee in the States some time ago. The kid at the counter handed me two small coins for change, and I had to pause before taking them.    Pennies.  I remember pennies.  I loved playing with pennies as a kid, lining them up, stacking them, practicing math with them.  No other coin was so accessible, and there were few things prettier than a shiny new penny, few things more interesting than one nearly green with age.  I remember feeling a sense of loss when penny production stopped in 2013.  Ever the historian (or maybe just sentimental pack-rat) I kept for myself five pennies, while all the others were bundled up and sent to the bank, never to be seen again.
  10. Heritage minutes- I discovered Heritage Minutes back in the early days of high school, and I’ve been watching them ever since.  These short dramatizations cover all sorts of scenes and personas from Canadian history.  I could make a whole post on this topic alone, going through all my favourite clips, but for now I’ll leave off with this one.
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6 thoughts on “Canada’s 150th

  1. Oh, yes, dear Shennachie! Several of your Canadian favourites resonate with me! Some with a bit of a twist for my context in time and space, but certainly… Stuart McLean’s blessed Vinyl Cafe – heartwarming, grounding, justice seeking, hope instilling; poutine discovered on a cross-Canada backpacking/hostelling trip; watching Canada win the (1972!) hockey game when our junior high teachers STOPPED teaching and wheeled a TV with makeshift antenna into the classroom; Canada geese flying south and then north again, all in due time according to the rhythm established by the Creator; peaceful nights rowing a dinghy on flooded fields under star filled heavens with the moon silhouetting the mountains; skating on frozen fields, but never quite learning how to stop using my blades because I could always count on gusts of wind sweeping across the prairie to slow me (so I became quite precise at turning on my skates to enlist the wind!); and of course the precious penny, with which my beloved grandfather made a delightful ritual (quite awe inspiring for a 6 year old) of pulling a “copper” as he called them from his pocket and placing it on the tracks to be flattened and polished by the train and then retrieved by us to treasure before we crossed to the beach – every time, a true ritual with restorative powers. Thank you, dear Shennachie, for sharing your favourite Canadian icons and memories and for inspiring me to think of mine.

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