Canada: We’re free, our scenery is pretty, and our toilets flush real well. Happy Birthday

There is something of a lyrical misstep in the words of the Canadian national anthem, in which reference is made to “our home and native land”. Well, since about half the population was born abroad, the native land thing doesn’t really wash any longer. If I was born in Bulgaria, then Bulgaria would, in fact, be my native land and Canada would be my adopted land.

But, that’s quibbling. Though I have yet another quibble with that anthem (despite the fact I find anthems to be rather sappy, except perhaps the French one, it’s pretty cool and inspiring; remember that scene in Casablanca in Rick’s Bar when the Nazis are in there and the other patrons all break out in the anthem? I defy you not to be moved and a bit teary).

Anyway, my quibble with ours is that they seem to keep changing the lyrics so when I try to sing along I get it wrong, so in recent years I’ve basically given up the singing part and just stand politely when called upon.

Some other Canadian stuff as pertains to me:

–         I mentioned the changes in anthem lyrics. They’ve also changed so many things since I was young. We have substituted O Canada as anthem for that former tribute to a lovely foreign lady, as in God Save the Queen. That was a good thing.

–         The old Red Ensign is gone and that to is probably good despite the fact that our lads and lasses fought in a lot of wars under that ensign. But, it was a bit vestigially Brit in ambience.

–         Likewise the old ‘Royal Mail’ vans that used to deliver our mail when a letter cost five cents to send off.

A recent poll mounted for Canada Day this year said that the greatest percentage of Canadians valued our scenery over anything else. That is to me kind a weird choice, since scenery is scenery and other places are pretty, as well, even though they might have horrible systems. We have, despite our incessant bitching about it a pretty decent democratic system that is maybe (to me at least) a little more important than the prettiness of Lake Louise. One thing I do like, however, is that scenery-wise my own province, BC, ahs it in aces compared to elsewhere.

They say the Maritimes are pretty nice too. I haven’t been there, I am a bit ashamed to say. Much as I have never been to the north. I have an allergy to ‘north’, I think. I’ve flown over it many times. It looks fine from 35,000 feet, and that is the perspective I’d favor, I think. I’ve heard about those black flies.

 As an aside, in that same poll the international ‘fame’ of Justin Bieber ranked about 3,456th in importance to Canadians, and that spoke well of us, I thought.

I have a pretty good relationship with my country and I am infinitely happy to have been born here and raised here and while I sometimes get pissed about living here, generally I approve. I know I’d be even crankier if I lived in some other places. When I lived in England – and loved it, by the way – I was still sometimes driven to say: “You put up with that?” and also, “Why don’t your %^$## toilets ever flush properly.”

Canada: Where toilets flush predictably.


12 responses to “Canada: We’re free, our scenery is pretty, and our toilets flush real well. Happy Birthday

  1. I’m glad to be here, too. I was born in Canada and my father was born in Canada and my… Well, if you trace back, -everyone’s- not-born-in-the-region-we-call-Canada’s ancestors came from somewhere else. I’d like to get on with saving the planet… Hello, Canada. Could we do something about that nature-hating anti-democracy leader we somehow accidently elected? Thanks.

  2. I have never been to Canada, but would love to visit…Things seem a bit saner there than they are in the US, with the exception of politicians.

    Where I live, our Republican governor has said he will not implement the Affordable Healthcare Act’s mandate on expanding Medicaid or setting up insurance exchanges…This is an example of putting partisanship above the needs of the state’s citizens and this will likely cost us, financially and otherwise.

    • What I don’t get with the medicare opponents in the US is that the people who stand to gain the most are the ones that rally for the right wing anti medicare candidates. It makes no sense.

  3. Si what was wrong with the flush mechanism?
    I was brought up in houses where the force of water descending from the cistern could have powered the kitchen if properly harnessed.

    • It’s just that they all seem to operate differently and you have to adjust yourself to the quirks of the one you’re using. And, oh yes, those old-fashioned Niagara cisterns.

  4. From what I understand, Canada rates quite high in pretty much all the good categories that they rate countries by. But according to our mutual friend Jazz, the weather there kinda sucks. I hope you had a nice Canada Day. I should have worn my Canada Day tee shirt. I hope I remember next year.

    • Well, there are just so many times I wish we had a ‘south’. Our winter weather isn’t like Jazz’s, but is mainly dreary and wet. But, at least we have fairly quick jaunts to Palm Springs, San Diego or even Hawaii.

  5. Isn’t standing politely what you’re supposed to do for the Canadian anthem? And yes. That scene in Casablanca moves me to tears. As does the scene in Cabaret when the young Nazi stands up to sing “Tomorrow belongs to me.” And in Shawshank Redemption when he puts the Mozart opera on the speakers. Music rules. Nothing else slays you like that.

    • Music can be amazingly powerful and that, to me, is what an anthem should do. I just don’t find that ours does. I actually like yours better despite the fact it demands almost a complete shift in octave at one point.

  6. They changed the lyrics of the anthem? Who knew? Yeah, I’m really patriotic that way.

    • Yeah, you’re sorta like me — big surprise. So, I just stand there politely and wish the damn thing would be over so I can get back to whatever I was doing before I was rudely interrupted.

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