In general us Canadians are fairly subdued folks when it comes to our nationality and national pride. Never too in your face about our citizenship.
You cross the border into the US, you definitely know you’re in another country. American flags are everywhere: houses, businesses, fences. National pride is very evident.
Canadians? Not so much.
Except on Canada Day. And when we’re cheering on the Canadian hockey team during the Olympics. And maybe when we’re hosting the Winter Olympics too. Canadians are most definitely proud of their country. All you have to do is take a look around on Canada day or when an important game is on.
I haven’t seen so much display of red and white pride as on Tuesday in a long while. It was refreshing to see everyone coming out and celebrating this fantastic country.
I haven’t celebrated Canada Day in Canada for years. Even before I moved to Budapest, I wasn’t one to join in the festivities. Usually it’s too hot and too many people. It wasn’t until recently that Vancouver even had fireworks and a big Canada Day celebration event. Even then, it is nothing like the massive celebration on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, or even the celebrations in Victoria, the capital of our province.
To take advantage of the fantastic sunny weather, and wanting to explore Vancouver more, I dragged my family out for a couple hours of Canadian filled fun at Canada Place.
We were there early and already there were lots of people decked out in red and while. A main stage greeted you with local musicians and entertainment acts. This stage really reminded me of the Olympics – it looked so similar!
Inside Canada place there were lots of activities mostly geared towards kids. The Vancouver Aquarium was on hand with interactive displays of local animals.
The Army, Navy and Air Force had a huge hanger full of their tanks, trucks and planes. There were plenty of people lining up for tours and photo ops. I once worked on a Naval base (as a civilian), so the novelty of these things have kind of worn off.
We spotted one of the free pianos hanging out around Vancouver and listened as someone played an impromptu concert for the public.
At noon, the 9 o’clock gun sounded. There is a cannon located in Stanley Park that sounds every evening at 9:00pm (hence its name). I didn’t know it was going to go off on Canada day so when it first went off, I was rather startled. For some reason, I’ve never been in the neighbourhood (and outside), at 9:00pm and have never heard it sound off before.
The coolest thing was probably walking by the Citizenship Ceremony. Can you imagine becoming a Canadian citizen on Canada Day? That would be the ultimate way of doing it.
Despite the claim of a lot of things to see and do, we were done walking through the whole thing in an hour or so. Most of the activities were geared towards children and even then, there wasn’t too much of it. Just a lot of people in a cramped space which was a bit of a letdown. But at least now I know I’m not missing out on huge Canadian celebrations when I’m out of the country.
How do you celebrate national holidays in your country? Do you find these sorts of celebrations are more of a let down than anything? Do you deck yourself out in your country’s colours?