Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup an Indication of a Canada Lost

As the World Cup continues in South Africa, celebrations of games lost and won continue worldwide.

That’s certainly evident to passersby in Canada’s largest city – you’ll see Toronto drivers proudly flying their country’s pick for support from their homes, their balconies and their cars.

Not since the Toronto Blue Jays first won the World Series in 1992 have I seen so many flags flying across the city.

It’s a joy to see the energy and support driven by loyal fans.

That got me thinking – how come we don’t see that many Canadian Flags come our nation’s birthday?

Canada Day – the day we became a nation – is just over three-weeks away, yet I don’t see a sea of red and white Canadian Flags.

And it isn’t that the World Cup is overshadowing Canada’s day, it appears every year for as long as I can remember, there are fewer and fewer Canadian Flags period.

When I was a kid, I remember celebrating Canada Day up at the family cottage a long time ago. My cousins and I made the five-mile trek up a dusty gravel road to the local tennis club, which also doubled as the center for group activities in the sleepy summer-resort town.

The weeks leading up to the proudly Canadian moment were obvious everywhere. Whenever we went into town for supplies, or to catch a movie on a rainy day, all the streets – not just the main street – ALL the streets – were dotted with red and white Canadian Flags hanging from street lamps, store fronts, and people’s homes.

I remember one store window which had taken every Canadian icon, and created a fun and colourful display to honour our nation’s birth. It was a scene of a beaver chomping on the CNTower, while being scolded for doing so by a Mountie. A flock of Canadian Geese hanging on wires was shown flying overhead.

Everyone was talking about this one event the weeks leading up to it. The other kids and I were excited to munch on red and white coloured floss candy, while watching fireworks. The adults were looking forward to the BBQ and beer, and I remember hearing rumours of a skinny dip party, but what do I know, I was just a kid.

I remember wearing a red shirt, white shorts and being handed a mini Canadian Flag as I flied out the door to meet up with my cousins and the local kids, the night of Canada’s birth. There must have been about 20 of us, as we excitedly hopped and skipped along that dusty gravel road, to watch the fireworks.

We’d meet up with the rest of the kids in the area, and later the adults would pop on by too – as the sun darted into darkness, setting the stage for the fireworks.

Everywhere you looked there were signs of Canada. People dressed in red and white, waving Canadian Flags, people with red maple leafs painted on their faces. Someone had gone so far as to die half their head red, the other white!

There was red and white cotton candy, maple fudge – in the shape of maple leaves no doubt – they even were handing out red and white popcorn!

It was a great time to show our home town pride, in our home and native land.
I remember other past Canada Day celebrations too, but with each passing year, they got smaller and smaller.

Even in the big city of Toronto, I remembered they used to have Canadian Flags overflowing up and down University Avenue, along Yonge Street, and even along some of the main streets of the suburbs such as Markham, Unionville and Stouffville – just northeast of Toronto.

There used to be a giant Canada Day fireworks celebration at the Markham Fair, a growing suburb just north of Toronto.

Fireworks still ignite the night’s sky, but the weeks, days and even hours before seem a lot less patriotic than years past.

What happened Canada?

I’ll tell ya what happened –we’ve lost touch with what it means to be Canadian.

It used to be a privilege to be a Canadian. People from other countries who came here had to really want to be here to settle down and have a Canadian life.
Becoming Canadian wasn’t just a rubber stamp, you had to really want it bad.

But over the years, our overly politically correct governments have lessened the requirements to joining this once great land, so much so, those coming here don’t respect Canadian values.

Our once proud land, a smorgasbord of cultures from all over the world worked together, making Canada great.

These days, those who come here want nothing to do with you or me, unless you look like others from their cultural group, speak in their home tongue, or participate in their culture.

Instead of continuing to share, develop and grow as a country embracing different cultures and beliefs, we have become a country with hostile pockets of other countries embedded within.

Unless you want to be mistaken as the white cleaner, don’t go to the Chinese megamall. Don’t walk down that street after dark, you’ll get beat up or worse – shot – by the Jamaican gangs, because you don’t fit in. You can’t get a job there – you don’t speak Punjabi.

Oh how I miss the Canada of days gone by, where it doesn’t matter where you originated from, we all got along under the proud glow of red and white.

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