In 2017 I had the opportunity to be in Canada. It was a blessing.
I arrived in late Spring and stayed til the latter part of the Fall. Like I’ve said elsewhere in this blog I would make Canada my second ‘home’ if I could. It agrees with me.
On this visit I was fortunate to be there for the the Fete Du Canada, Canada Day, which is celebrated every 1 July.
Although I had been to Canada previously in 1976, and had had connections with Canada, I had never really thought about its creation, constitution, or sovereignty. I mean, I just knew that Canada was a place I liked, that it was closely associated with Barbados politically and somewhat economically, our musicians were welcomed there; and their claim to fame was Niagra Falls and the CN Tower. As far I knew Canada was a lovely place to visit with lovely people who also visited Barbados or worked and were resident in my island home. But living in Canada for months rather than a 3 week holiday gave me the chance to get better acquainted.
Yes, it was still a clean country with personable people even after 41 years. In 1976 I stayed in Toronto, travelling from/through Bathhurst Street to spend time in York and Scarborough. In 2017 I spent nearly all of the many months exploring what I could of the mainly residential area of Bradford, Ontario – by bus and foot.
I can tell you that from the first week in Bradford my interest in Canada’s history was peaked. Why? Well everyday as I stepped out onto the back porch I was greeted by the Canadian flag. One of the neighbours opposite (to me) made a statement of citizenship by having Canada’s flag solidly hoisted on a pole in his backyard.
I found myself soon after that week, ‘saluting’ the flag of Canada. It came naturally to me.
Then I started wondering about Canada’s history and its’ claim to fame as a Nation.
I hit upon Dominion Day aka Canada Day aka Fete Du Canada. I also deliberately looked up the words to their National Anthem. I was moved by it. I comprehended what makes Canadians Canadian. To tell the truth I was also moved, emotionally, by a young gentleman who on their auspicious day gave me a Tulip and a kiss on the cheek as we were about to cross the street at some traffic lights.
I had taken in a little tiny bit of celebration, walking that day not far from where I was staying. I remember it was unexpectedly quiet as the big celebrations were elsewhere, like closer to Lake Simcoe and the real fireworks for this 150th year, in my neighbourhood, would be in the evening.
Everywhere I ventured in Bradford, wg, people were nice. I danced with the neighbours on one side, shared drinks and stories with those on the other side, got adopted and treated by Wendy and her mates whom I met at a coffee shop, spent wonderful moments in the local Library, had evenings and partying with families around the Crescent, felt safe and happy in the nearby Catholic Church, wonderful scenes and walks…… O Canada!
Canada National Anthem
English Version – Lyrics by Stanley Weir
O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love thou dost in us command.
We see thee rising fair, dear land,
The True North, strong and free;
And stand on guard, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
O Canada! O Canada!
O Canada! We stand on guard for thee,
O Canada! We stand on guard for thee.
O Canada! Where pines and maples grow,
Great prairies spread and lordly rivers flow,
How dear to us thy broad domain,
From East to Western sea!
Thou land of hope for all who toil!
Thou True North, strong and free!
O Canada! Beneath thy shining skies
May stalwart sons and gentle maidens rise,
To keep thee steadfast through the years
From East to Western sea,
Our own beloved native land,
Our True North, strong and free!
Ruler Supreme, Who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our dominion within Thy loving care.
Help us to find, O God, in Thee
A lasting, rich reward,
As waiting for the Better Day,
We ever stand on guard.
You can read more about the Canada National Anthem and see the French version on Britanica.com
To all Canadians everywhere:
“Happy Canada Day!”
May you stay strong and free.