Happy 147th Birthday Canada!

happy_canada_dayHello all, and happy Canada Day to you! Today is the national holiday that marks the day that Confederation took place. For those not familiar, this historic event took place on July 1, 1867, when the three colonies of British North America came together to become the four provinces – Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick – of the Dominion of Canada. Thereafter, July 1st became known as “Dominion Day” – until 1982 when the Canadian constitution was patriated, at which point it was renamed Canada Day.

Growing up in Ottawa – the nation’s capitol – Canada Day was always a special time. As a kid, it usually involved having a barbeque at home and proceeding to head downtown to see the crowds gather on Parliament Hill. At sundown, the fireworks display would begin, and we’d watch as from Major’s Hill Park (just across the canal from Parliament Hill) as thousands of them would go off above the clock tower (pictured above).

As I got older, the ritual remained the same, only it began to involve myself and my closest friends doing it instead. We’d start out at a friend’s house (more often than not, Luke would be the host). After some burgers or some other barbequed meal, washed down generously with beer or some other spirituous beverage, we’d proceed downtown. Once there, we’d get lost in the festivities, which would be pretty damn raucous and overwhelming!

jul-1st-canada-day-cityTo describe it, imagine 100,000 people crowded into the space of about 3 square kms. That’s where Parliament Hill, the downtown area, the Rideau Center, the old Bytown area, the War Memorial, the entrance to the Rideau Canal, and a slew of other major attractions are located. Vendors and buskers are out and about, people have their faces painted and sport flags, and the festive spirit just gets inside you and makes you want to party.

And of course, there is the televised concert taking place on the Hill, which features bands from all over Canada leading people in celebration. It was one of my fondest memories of living in Ottawa, and something I truly miss now that I live out here on the West Coast. Of course, Victoria puts on a might fine celebration as well, which has all the same high points. But since this is not the town I grew up in, it’s never quite had the same meaning for me.

So here’s to Canada, and here’s hoping that everybody out there has a day that holds special meaning to them too, and that they get to enjoy it this year without incident, stress or worry. And to all my American compatriots (including my sister and brother-in-law) happy soon-to-be Fourth of July!

Happy Canada Day!

happy_canada_dayWell, it’s Canada’s birthday, a day of celebration and national holiday. And I thought what better to celebrate that day on this site than with a video of Chris Hadfield playing for audience on Parliament Hill. Back when I used to live in the nation’s capitol, I’d turn out on the Hill with roughly 100,000 other people to take in the show and then stay for the fireworks.

And I can honestly say I wish I could have been there. Since his return to Earth on May 13th of this year, Hadfield has been showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. After months of educational, inspirational and musical broadcasts from the International Space Station, he’s now making guest appearances, giving talks, and as usual, showcasing his musical talents!

chris-hadfield-852-17888-8colOther than that, I hope my friends back in Ottawa are having fun today. I know that some of them are likely braving the crush of people downtown right now, suffering through the sweltering heat to take part in the festivities and patriotic fervor. Wish I was there with ya, buds!

And also, I would like to take this opportunity to wish one of my best friends, Chi hung-La, currently residing in Edmonton, Alberta, a happy birthday. Lucky for him, and all of us who care about him, the flooding didn’t effect his neck of the woods. And also to longtime family friend Shannon Hagerman. Happy birthday to you too!

And to any fellow Canucks out there, hope this day finds you happy, comfortable, and having a good time surrounded by family and friends. And since it is vacation season, I’ll be gone for about a week on the Sunshine Coast Trail again this year. But expect me back soon enough! Happy Canada Day, and a glorious summer to all!