Today is Canada Day – a day to celebrate being Canadian. People all around our campground are wearing red and white clothing to symbolize the flag and to show their pride. But, to me, it was the rice cooker plugged into an electrical outlet in my camground’s bathroom, which was the real reminder of our national identity based on multiculturalism and diversity.
We will hear fireworks tonight but won’t be going downtown for the celebration at Parliament Hill. I’ve been many times and the crush of people is quite incredible.
Starting early in the day, people congregate on Parliament hill and begin to create small territorial piles of blankets and backpacks. They are hoping to secure a good spot for watching the stage performances and fireworks. As the day progresses, and more people arrive, the spots become more compact.
Diehards wear the Canadian flag wrapped toga style, and ride in the back of pick-up trucks yelling something not altogether appropriate or quotable.
Entrepreneurial sorts make swift business selling hotdogs, glow bracelets and temporary tattoos. Later, following the fireworks, the streets will belong to the people who walk brazenly en mass while vehicle pile up behind the revelers.
The extent of the levity and drunkeness is quite remarkable considering that we are Canadian, and not prone to tooting our own horn.
Today is our last Canada Day in Ottawa in years perhaps. It is unusually cold and rainy. But my kids are undeterred. They are enjoying the puddle jumping and the park. it will be strange to celebrate Canada Day next year without the sense of community. But, we will find our own way to celebrate. I am looking forward to experiencing the foods, music and dress that other people use to express their national pride.