Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Happy Canada Day

July 1st is Canada Day. Seems I missed it every time since I live in Canada, much like I've missed every 4th of July while in the USA. Anyway, here is what you are supposed to do: "Canada Day is celebrated with barbeques, parades, music, and of course fireworks in the evening in most of the cities especially in Ottawa with thousands Canadian flags and Canadians singing Oh Canada." Ideally this sounds like this:



If you want to sing along, here's the lyrics, comes of course in English and French.

Besides singing and barbequeing you are apparently supposed to buy lots of stuff in red and white with a maple leaf on it, like flags, hats, towels, pens, keyrings and flip-flops that they sell everywhere from mother's day on. I am pretty sure you can equip your whole household in Oh-Canada-design if you'd try. Anyway, I am in Paris (France, not Paris, Ontario), but happy holidays to our Canadian visitors :-)

23 comments:

Giotis said...

Come to think of it i don't know much about Canada. This country was always standing in the shadow of US. At least in my mind.

Bee said...

Hi Giotis,

Well, here is the result of my friend's associations to Canada when I moved there ;-) After living in Canada for two years I still don't know much about the country admittedly, but I've tried ice wine and know what a loony is. Besides the Toronto area I haven't seen a lot (well, I'm either travelling, or working, or the country is covered under snow). It seems funny to me that for whatever reasons many people - including the Canadians themselves - seem to consider them standing in the shadow of their neighbors to the south. From the impression that I got I'd say they are way more progressive, openminded and better educated. The social/health system seems to be better (though worse than in Germany), but the public transportation system is equally bad. Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

From a Canuck whose family’s history in this country extends back before confederation and also in the U.S. well prior to their independence, I thank you for the acknowledgement of our National holiday. As for the perception of where Canada stands in the face of the U.S. I guess it depends on which citizen you ask. In as my ancestors straddle both sides of the border and are found this way resultant of political differences of long ago, I certainly don’t feel to be standing in any kind of a shadow.

Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

“Anyway, I am in Paris (France, not Paris, Ontario), but happy holidays to our Canadian visitors :-)”

It has long been a tradition for many Parisians to vacate their city in the summer in face of the onslaught of tourists. If I ever do visit Paris I plan to do so in the winter and catch them by surprise and perhaps a little off balance :-)

However, I have heard things are getting better.
Best,

Phil
P.S. so have you been successful in finding something the right size?

Plato said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Plato said...

The Landscape of the Neighborhood Maybe you have old pictures of your families?

I do not know if we have an good any tests on whether you could be a Canadian or not?:)

Best,

Uncle Al said...

Nova Scotia is folks who think it a bonny place to live. Quebec is non-reproducing Catholics. Manitoba is Little Russia with decaying concrete everywhere. Saskatchewan is bulldozers and tar pits in defiance of thermodynamics. British Columbia would make Tabasco Sauce a capital offense. Nunavut is alcoholic First Americans and alcoholic Mounties engaged in dialectic and critique at taxpayer expense. The People's Republic of Canada is the Balkans overlain with a thick blanket of disinterest saturated with the world's most expensive and dysfunctional healthcare system.

One shudders to contemplate the sequelae to its ever defrosting.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Uncle Al,

Your worldliness certainly does do you credit. I also look forward to your insightful synopsis I suspect you will grace us with upcoming on this Friday the 4th.

Best,

Phil

JJD said...

Bee: I do not know if we have an good any tests on whether you could be a Canadian or not?:)

A man was commuting every day from Canada into the USA every day for work. One day, the American Customs & Immigration officer asked him to declare whether he was a Canadian or an American.

"Well, I dunno. My parents are American, but I was born in Canada and have a lot of family there. It's hard to say."

The officer asked, "If Canada and the USA were at war with each other, which side would you be on?"

"I guess it would depend on what they were fighting about."

"You are a Canadian!"

Bee said...

:-)

"If Canada and the USA were at war with each other, which side would you be on?"

I would be on the other side of the Atlantic ocean really fast. I'm afraid I am European and will always be European.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

“I'm afraid I am European and will always be European.”


European and not German, well that’s at least a start:-)


Best,


Phil

Andrew Thomas said...

I don't think hardly any British person would ever describe themselves as a "European". I don't think I've ever heard that.

I think things are very different on the continent.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Andrew,

“I think things are very different on the continent.”


When someone like Bee refers to herself as a European I take that as the first baby step towards globalism, a step that I am still waiting to be taken in North America and of course the entire world.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I'm not the only one”

-John Lennon


Best,

Phil

Andrew Thomas said...

Well, that's one way of looking at it. I absolutely don't like nationalism if it means wars - so I agree with you there. But for most Brits (myself included) "globalism" means McDonalds and an erosion of national identity - sorry!

One thing I always love when I go to France is how they have resisted Americanisation. They still have the local shops and the French way of life. We've lost a lot of our identity in Britain - people just want cheap supermarkets and fast food.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Andrew,


If you think my idea of globalism is Americanism and fast food I suggest you listen to your countryman again. I also don’t relate this as a loss of identity that can be equated with the better side of culture. I also realize that I and my children will be long since gone before anything of a serious nature is given to such a concept. However, I would say if you scratch many Canadians hard enough they harbor similar thoughts as my own.

Best,

Phil

Exl Blogger said...

So, I presume you will be vacating France by the 13th? Otherwise you won't be able to miss Bastille Day on the 14th. Bastille Day is celebrated with fireworks, music, parades, and decorating every darned thing with le tricoleur.

Anonymous Snowboarder said...

Maple syrup Bee, maple syrup - how could you forget abooot it? What else would you use to celebrate now that Molsons isn't really Canadian anymore?

Bee said...

Hi Exl,

I don't feel like I'm occupying much of France, but yes, I'll leave Quartoze Juillet to the French.

Hi Snowboarder,

But they use maple syrup always and everywhere whether it's Canada Day or not!

Hi Phil,

Well, I don't feel particularly German, I was just born there, and that accent and many habits will likely stay with me for the rest of my life. In fact I don't feel particularly like any nation. I am very much with Lennon there. However I think what is more likely to happen than nations being joined is that the concept of a nation gets more and more detached from the country (I mean physically the region). It might get closer to the spirit of actually being a contract of a society. Imagine that: people could chose what constitution they belong to.

Hi Andrew,

The globalism you have in mind is mostly on the economical side, but it's capitalism that has drawbacks not globalisation. As to McDonalds and other blessings of the same kind, it isn't surprising to me these chains are so successful but I don't think it has in the first line much to do with the food or with it being fast. I think the reason is mostly it's easy.


Especially when you're travelling or in a foreign country. I admit on searching the next Starbucks in every city and why? Because I know what I get, I know what it's called, and I don't have to negotiate or take out a dictionary etc. Especially in Europe, what they think a coffee is can differ from one country to the next, not to mention cappuccino, cafe latte, latte macchiato etc. Can be something completely different in Austria than in Italy! Same if you go into a restaurant. Are you supposed to take a seat or wait to be seated? Give a tip or not and if, how high? What is the dressing code? And then the menu! Is the entree an entree or is it the main dish? Are you supposed to order various dishes or is everything included. And then if you don't speak the language, or don't speak it well, what on Earth is it you are ordering? I mean, I wish they would just write in understandable words what it is, like "Fish with vegetables and noodles", or better, have a picture. Instead they will in the worst case tell you something about a caramelized perch in a bed of slowly cooked whatever over some -line finished with a sauce of blablabla, and the french translation says something different. Okay, you might say, how charming all these cultural differences. And yes, if I'm in holiday mood this can be nice, but if you're on a one week conference trip I at least find this very confusing. Now to fast food. You go there, point to a picture and pay. That's it. If more restaurants would be equally uncomplicated they wouldn't have to be afraid of competition from fast food chains.

More generally, the problem is that too many companies don't realize their brand name isn't known to everybody and it's in many cases totally unclear what they sell. I mean, how are you supposed to know that Safeway, Vons, Ralphs are grocery stories? What is Sears, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Midas? What is Zehrs, Zellers, Sobeys? Would you have known that Real is a German grocery store and Idea is a drugstore? But hey, Walmart looks the same always and everywhere and you know what you find (usually: crappy products that you don't need).

Best,

B.

Andrew Thomas said...

I have a real problem with restaurants in general. The worst thing is the inefficiency. After you take your seat, the man comes over with the menu. Then the man goes away. Then the man comes back and takes your order. Then the man goes away. Then you wait. Then the man brings your drinks. Then the man goes away. Then you wait. And this time you wait ages. Then you call the man and say "The food has been a long time - can you check?" Then the man goes away. Then the man comes back and says it won't be long. Then you wait. Then the man finally brings the food. Then the man goes away. Then you eat the food. Then you wait. And you wait. Then you wave your hand and say "Can I have the bill, please?" Then the man goes away. Then you wait. Then the man brings the bill. Then the man goes away. Then you get fed up so you leave the money and walk out, not forgetting to add 10% to the bill for "good service".

There has to be a better way. Surely paying for your meal when you order at a central point would be better. Then when you finish you just walk out.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

“However I think what is more likely to happen than nations being joined is that the concept of a nation gets more and more detached from the country (I mean physically the region).”

Yes I also see this as the natural progression and the EU is a perfect example of it for they haven’t eliminated the national concept simply demoted it. So one can still refer to themselves as German, French, Italian and what not, yet still choose without restriction to travel, live or work anywhere within the EU. This in itself brings a certain dynamic with it. I have followed this all closely from its inception and I must say it serves to me to be a sign of hope that in time this could be extended globally. I think the standardization of currency is also a necessary requirement as it eliminates the type of peek-a-boo and shell games that nations such as the U.S. and China so shamelessly practice and utilize as strategy and tactic.

Best,

Phil

Andrew Thomas said...

But if you standardize currency then you lose flexibility of each country to set its own interest rates. This has already been a problem in the Eurozone with Germany and Italy wanting lower rates to boost growth, but France and Spain wanting higher rates because of inflation. There is a formula for giving you the optimal size of a currency area, balancing stability with flexibility - the Optimal Currency Area

"Some economists have argued that the United States, for example, really consists of two optimal currency areas and that the United States should have two currencies, one for the western half and one for the eastern half."

Thomas D said...

Does Canada Day actually correlate with anything that happened on July 2?

I seem to have missed it by one day, since I went into my bank only today to get some CA$. Would you believe it, they only had 85 left, so I hope to find some cash machines when I land. (Or try another bank here...)

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Thomas,

“Does Canada Day actually correlate with anything that happened on July 2?”

Some confusion here since Canada day, first called Dominion day, marks the actual date our country was first founded on July 1st, 1867.

“I seem to have missed it by one day, since I went into my bank only today to get some CA$. Would you believe it, they only had 85 left, so I hope to find some cash machines when I land. (Or try another bank here...)”

Not to worry, for there are lots of such machines to be found from banks to corner stores. Just to lend a little cultural tip in this regard. The one dollar coin is referred to as a Loonie and the two dollar one a twonie. Now you truly have a sense for what your are in for:-)


Best,


Phil