We are having a long weekend here in the not-so-frozen-but-slightly-chilly-today north.
It’s called Victoria Day.
It is another of those vestigial nods in the direction of the misapprehension by certain Canadians that anybody here really gives a ‘royal’ act of coition anymore about our one-time tie with the land-of-hope-and-glory with a little white-man’s-burden thrown in connection with the British Crown.
All I can say is that any excuse for a holiday is acceptable so Victoria Day it shall be and bless her for having been born or we wouldn’t be getting a day off.
So, what does Victoria mean to me? Well, she was a stumpy, cranky little thing in her old age who was horrid to her daughters but sucked up a big chunk of the planet into her fiefdom. As a young woman, newly married she was moderately cute and, I gather, while her husband, Prince Albert (named after a town in Saskatchewan) was still around, she was a randy li’l vixen who produced about 28 children, many of whom married up with some of the viler crowned heads of Europe and eventually caused World War One.
Victoria is also the capital of British Columbia named, I suspect, after the woman under discussion, who sent out soldiers and trappers and other sorts to claim a land that actually was already owned. But, under God’s guidance, the missionaries of the era went and snatched up as much neat art as they could and gave it all to Queen Victoria (via the British Museum up near the Elgin Marbles that they also pilfered) who ended up slightly amused by it all. “More stuff for the Queen Empress!” she was often heard to exclaim. “It’s good to be me and have commoners, colonials and dusky people to attend to my wants and needs, as my wants and needs are huge.”
During a reign of about 200 years lots of stuff was named after Victoria, like the island where Hong Kong sits, the aforementioned BC capital, a big waterfall and huge lake in Africa and an English footballer’s sourpuss missus. And in her lifetime she gave spawn to the current dynasty on the UK’s throne, some of whom have been good, like the current Queen, and some of whom have been bums, like the Queen’s creepy uncle. So for all that somebody or other should be grateful.
Me, I’m grateful for Victoria Day and I bet you are as well now that you know, thanks to my historical input, what it’s all about.