It’s a little bit strange. I know I celebrated Canada Day in Canada. I can remember fireworks. And it’s a holiday weekend, which promotes celebration. But I don’t think I really celebrated Canada Day until I left Canada.
In 2006, I heard that there were Canada Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square every year. So I attempted to go, only to find that it was Euro Pride. I had an entirely different (but still awesome and memorable) experience, but still felt more than a little cheated to have missed the Canada Day celebrations that had occurred the day before.
Every year since then, I have descended on Trafalgar Square on Canada Day. I have enjoyed the Tim Hortons donuts, the Sleeman Cream Ale, and a variety of musical acts.
I have met strangers who I hang out with once a year.
No, seriously. I hang out with these people on Canada Day every year. I’ve never met them outside the event, but we’ll greet each other like old friends in a couple of hours:
Your nation’s birthday seems somehow more important when you’re not there. It becomes a chance to connect with your heritage, while enjoying a slightly warm beer and the sounds of a washed up Canadian rock band. Or presumably washed up these days. The last couple of years have started to hit close to home.
So … happy birthday, Canada. And thanks for sending some musicians over here to celebrate it with me.