Another Year, Another Canada Day
On July 1, 2013, Canada turned 146. This year, I was much more excited about celebrating my new country’s birthday than I was in 2012. After the excitement of my first Canada Day in Vancouver in 2011, last year was a bit of an anti-climax. I’d seen the parade and the fireworks and wasn’t overly impressed by either of them. I can’t remember what I did to celebrate and it obviously wasn’t blog-worthy enough for me to write about.
This year was different. My brother had just arrived in Vancouver, as had the sunshine, and I was gagging for a long weekend after the craziness of starting my new job. Saying that, I did start my Canada Day by working…but it turned out to be a great decision as I was supporting our booth at Canada Place. The atmosphere was electric, with the hundred thousand people in attendance blurring into a sea of red and white. The Reconciliation Canada colours are pale blue and red, so we decided to try and stand out from the crowd by wearing blue. Stand out we did, and I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of tourists from outside Canada who had dressed in their Canada-branded best for the occasion. It was a hot day, and the two hours I spent in the sun handing out information about the Walk for Reconciliation in September flew by. The mood was definitely one of excitement and celebration, and I couldn’t help but catch some of it myself. I was inspired by the sight of a Citizenship Ceremony taking place in Canada Place in the afternoon; hopefully that will be me in a few years time!
On my way home from Canada Place I stopped in at a dollar store to pick up some accessories for the beachside picnic we had planned for the evening. I chose two different types of bunting, a red tablecloth and a 48 piece plastic cutlery set for the grand total of $4 plus tax. The next hour was spent shopping for groceries and preparing food, and soon enough we were relaxing on the grass alongside Sunset Beach, 8 blocks from our apartment. We invited a whole host of expats and had quite the turnout as friends who bought friends bought friends. There were even a few Canadians in the mix, which is often a rarity in my friendship circles. Everyone bought some kind of food item, and we were well and truly sated by the time the sun set below the shadow of Vancouver Island. We decided to skip the fireworks, choosing instead to relax on our blankets and enjoy the company (and the cookies) until it got too dark to see.
This year I learned that Canada Day isn’t just about parades, fireworks or other formal activities. The real excitement comes from marvelling at the fact that every single Canadian owns an item of clothing with the word ‘Canada’ on, realizing that we can all find something red to wear, and enjoying the uniqueness of our city with friends. Watching people from all across the world come together in such a positive way made me proud to be an honorary Canadian. I just hope they let me be a real one in a few years.