The Maple Leaf Spangled Banner

The rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air…. YEAH CANADA! What? Turns out Independence Day is not the only patriotic fireworks-laden midsummer festival in North America. Canada Day is on the 1st of July and celebrates Canada’s “birthday” with familiar cookouts, picnics, parades, fireworks and a communal cake. Cake? Of course, it’s a birthday party! We found ourselves a beauty of a celebration by the banks of the River Thames in London… Ontario that is.

We found ourselves a beauty of a celebration by the banks of the River Thames in London… Ontario… CONTINUE READING >>

Canada Day - with a mountie!

The rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air…. YEAH CANADA!

What? Turns out Independence Day is not the only patriotic fireworks-laden midsummer festival in North America.

Canada Day is on the 1st of July and celebrates Canada’s “birthday” with familiar cookouts, picnics, parades, fireworks and a communal cake.

Cake? Of course, it’s a birthday party!

We found ourselves a beauty of a celebration by the banks of the River Thames in London… Ontario that is.

Cutting the Canada Day Cake in London, Ontario!

It seems that
Canada hung on with the Brits until 1867, almost one hundred years
after the U.S. did. Then, with the enactment of the British North
America Act and formation of Parliament, the Canadian Colonies
formed a federation that technically became a kingdom in its own
right.

With typical Canadian restraint — no shots were fired
— it took over a century to become fully independent. That finally
happened in 1982 with the Constitution Act, however they still
remain loyal to the crown.

While
visiting the London on our side of the pond, we were pleased
to discover there was birthday revelry going on.

Naturally,
we joined in.

Our day began at a town celebration with food,
fun, music and a ceremony for the swearing in of new citizens.
After sampling some of the fare,
we were excited to observe as citizens took the oath.

Canadians,
new or old, love their country with fervent patriotism. Polling shows that fully 90% of Canadians say they live in the best place
on Earth.

Like the U.S. on the 4th of July, newspapers and TV
newscasts were filled with man-on-the-street interviews, flag-waiving
and folks wearing maple-leaf inspired paraphernalia.

Looks like
those of us in the good old U.S. of A. don’t have the market cornered
on love of country, eh?

As
U.S. citizens, we found the ceremony riveting as we were fairly
ignorant about the politics and policies of our neighbor to
the north.

A judge presided, flanked by a Royal Canadian Mounted
Policeman (“Mountie“)
in full Dudley Do-right regalia and other officials.

 

There was much
pontificating from His Honor and several Members of Parliament gave
calls to service of their nation.Volunteerism is big in Canada.

The
oath, administered in both English and French, included a
pledge of loyalty to Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada.

Yes, Canadians
view the Queen of England as THEIR queen.

As a welcome gift,
each new citizen was given a tree to commemorate the occasion
and help maintain the beautiful environment of
their gorgeous country.

 

The service ended with a rousing rendition
of “Oh Canada” and a photo op with the Mountie (we were
pretty sure that meeting the cute Mountie was why the two girls
from Ireland chose to be on the Canadian team).

People from fifteen
different countries, including the U.S., were sworn in that day.

At the close of the ceremony we were lucky enough to spend a few
minutes chatting with Member of Parliament, Irene Mathyssen. As
a representative of the New Democrats, she is extremely proud of
her party’s leadership in bringing healthcare to all
Canadians.

With the current debate raging in the States, it was
interesting to learn more about their system. In stark contrast
what the U.S. health insurance lobbyists say, the Canadian system
enjoys huge popularity, with two thirds of the public consistantly
approving of their public health care.

The Honorable Ms. Mathyssen
explained to us that even the most conservative politician in Canada
would never, ever call for an end to public healthcare.

Having just
witnessed people from all over the world complete the three-year
process to become Canadians, we asked Ms. Mathyssen about immigration.
She explained that the Canadian birthrate is in decline, so they
actively seek new people in order to remain completive in the
global market.

New residents with different skills and backgrounds
are needed and Canada strives to add at least 1% of the population
in new citizens each year.

Cutting the Canada Day Cake in London, Ontario!

After Ms.
Mathyssen presented us with Canadian flag lapel pins, it was time
to partake in the gigantic Canada cake frosted up like the flag.
Ours was a massive twin flavored confection. The red part of the
flag was chocolate and the white vanilla, handsome AND tasty.

Speaking of
the red and white parts of the flag, if you let your eye see primarily
the white and use the red as a background, there are two faces
— forehead to forehead — at the top of the maple leaf.

Legend
has it is an Englishman and a Frenchman arguing what is best for
Canada. We can’t remember who showed this to us, we’re gonna
go out on a limb and say a bartender, but he was right when he
said that once you see it, you always will.

Even in the little
lapel pins.

What
patriotic American holiday would be complete without baseball?
American?

Yup, as Canadians are quick to remind us, America
is a CONTINENT and Canada is part of it.

 

We caught
the second half of a double header between The London Majors and
the baseball version of The Toronto Maple Leafs (NOT Leaves!).

London’s
Labatt Park, in the Guinness Book of World Records as “oldest
continually operating baseball grounds in the world,” dates
back to 1877. Quite a piece of American baseball history. And for
those who say it’s hard to define irony, try this…a ballpark named
for a famous brewing company that doesn’t sell beer.

After
the game, it was just a short stroll along and across the
River Thames to the downtown fireworks display.

It is London,
so there must be a Thames, but this one looked more like the
Creek Thames or the
Stream Thames or the Brook Thames than a river to us.

Still, the
riverside at The Forks of The Thames is a pretty jammin’ site for
a big old patriotic fireworks hootenanny.

The
display was spectacular and unlike in the U.S. the crowd watches
in reverent silence. No Lee Greenwood to turn your stomach
while enjoying the show.

Just some oohs and ahhs and the occasional
“YEAH CANADA!” from the back of the crowd to remind
us we weren’t in Kansas anymore…

David &
Veronica, GypsyNester.com

See all of our adventures in Canada!

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