Happy Birthday Canada!

Well.  Between my little rant last night, the fact that I got to do my civic duty as a voter not once but TWICE this month (in addition to our provincial election earlier this month my riding had a federal by-election yesterday), the evidence that journalism might just have a redemptive future in the form of one of my former students who is now an intern with a major news organization and who is producing wonderful articles (as evidenced here: http://globalnews.ca/news/1425365/climbing-parliament-hill-on-wheels/), the fact that I’m not affected (directly, anyway) by the insanity of SCOTUS’ latest decision (seriously, SCOTUS?  WTF?), the end of a wonderful World Pride- lovingly hosted by my hometown, and the fact that THREE of my very favourite Canucks were awarded the Order of Canada, I’m back to being the shiny-happy Maple Leaf Forever cole of yore.

Chris Hadfield- our astronaut extraordinaire- was one of recipients.  While he was up there on the International Space Station, along with recording an awesome version of Space Oddity, he did an incredible job of educating our young folk about the importance of, well, education.  Since his return he continues to lead by example- talking about the beauty of this planet we call home and the need to majorly up our concern about its future.

Still brings a tear of pride to my eye.

Rick Mercer has long been my fave homegrown comedic relief to the ins and outs of the political realm.  His rants are things of glory and insight spoken with an honesty that is becoming all too rare.

He’s off for the summer, but his remarks about the ‘mayor’ are points well taken.  The problem isn’t all with the train wreck that is the person, it’s the fact that the politics still resonate with too many people.  Who don’t know better.  And don’t want to know better.  Wait.  That’s taking me back toward my rant of yesterday.  And today I’m shiny-happy cole.

Guy Gavriel Kay… Jebus.  What can I say about that guy?  I have a post that has been languishing in my drafts folder for almost a year now.  I just haven’t been able to bring myself to hit ‘publish’ as of yet.  Any words of mine seem to pale brutally in comparison to his mastery of character and history and plot.  Suffice it to say- for now, at least- that he is my favourite Canadian author.  Someday I will stop with the hyper-self-editing and offer up my fulsome praise of the novels that have impacted me so greatly.

A friend and I have this thing we do when a correspondence requires a complete response and we don’t have the time- or insight- to provide one immediately.  We send a ‘placeholder’ text or email which marks our intention to get back to the discussion asap.

Let’s call this a placeholder about Guy.


My Canadianess is a complicated thing.  I love our people, our diversity, our landscapes and lakefronts.  Our history of making important- if sometimes understated- marks on the world stage is something in which I take great and ever-growing pride.

But it’s summertime.  And in summer my thoughts turn, as they often do, to music.  OUR music- one of our enduring contributions to the record of humanity north of the 49th parallel.

So… the Shuffle Daemon has the wheel today.

When I first got up this morning- to cloudy skies and heavy rain (which have since cleared up), my pal Booksy had beat me to the punch with her literary/musical Canada Day tribute.  It’s awesome.  Go have a look: http://lostandfoundbooks.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/mixed-tape-canada-day-music-for-book-lovers/.  I second every single one of her choices (especially the Rheostatics, her Hip choice and, of course, Gordie Lightfoot) and won’t duplicate her selections in my list here.’

But… since we were just talking about the Hip…

‘Courage’ was my original choice- it is, as Booksy noted, based on Hugh MacLennan’s Governor General’s Award Winning The Watch That Ends the Night– and therefore Canadian times two.  But ‘Bobcaygeon’, like much of the Hip’s music, is infused with that same sense of completeness in its Canadianism.

Named for a small town in the Kawartha Lakes district of Ontario (and not far from where I spent my first cottage weekend of the season a couple of weeks ago), the song references the 1933 Christie Pits riot in Toronto (that I spoke about briefly in the post about my Grandad) started by a bunch of xenophobic anti-semites during the Great Depression.  The song evokes both the complicated history of our multicultural heritage and the wonder to be found as the ‘constellations reveal themselves’ in the sky over cottage country.  Love.

Arguably the best thing to come out of Hamilton (I’m from Toronto, I’m supposed to dis Hamilton).  I bought Teenage Head’s ‘Tornado’ on 45 at the ‘5 and Dime’ in Wiarton, Ontario (while on our annual family vacation to a Lodge on Lake Huron) more years ago than I care to acknowledge.  They were Canadian punk heroes and I love them.  Okay, so they caused a riot at my Horseshoe Tavern in 1978, and then again at Ontario Place in 1980, but for this I forgive them.  I was waaaaaay to young to have been there, anyway.

Wow, just realized I’ve been referencing a whole lot of riots in this post.  We’re not a riotous people, really we aren’t.

Back to the Daemon…

I’ve been thinking about this band a lot lately- started a post all about them, actually.  But, once again, haven’t had the time to devote to doing them justice.  There seems to be a renewal of chatter about them out there lately- that 80’s resurgence thing, I guess- and I’m following Ivan on the Facebook and the Twitter.

Back in the early 80’s they screamed Canada to me.  Not only were they offering up solid synth-based danceable and fun tunes, they incorporated both official languages in the songs on their Rhythm of Youth album.  I think I wore out the tape, playing it on my Walkman so often.  This will be another of those placeholders– the band was certainly part of my youthful exuberance.

One placeholder leads to another… The Band.  On the Wikipedia they are described as ‘American-Canadian’, but Robbie is ours.  They deserve their own post, and they’ll get it, eventually.

For now…

Okay, so it’s a song about American history, but it is so well-crafted and -researched that it deserves its place as one of the great Canadian tunes.  And Levon was pretty awesome, too.  Even if he wasn’t Canadian.

Broken Social Scene is the exemplar when it comes to the wonder that is our music industry up here in the North.  With its ever-changing line-up of contributors, the band is all about contribution and collaboration.  They reject the moniker ‘super-group’, but they’re pretty damn super, if you ask me.  Their impact on Canadian music- indie and otherwise- has been profound.

Strangely, I like Feist when she is with the band.  On her own, not so much.  Togetherness is better.

Speaking of indie bands- and liking the chick vocalists better with a band than on their own (same thing holds true with Neko, IMO)…

And, since I can’t stay away from these guys (and because I saw them a couple of weeks ago- touring with original member Pete Cash for the first time in years), a little number from my hometown guys to send me off out into the Canada Day/evening and its festivities.

Ah, so young.  Although Andy is surprisingly unchanged.  And his dancing has altered not at all.

Let me just say again, in case you might have missed it before.  I love my home and native land.  Our patriotism tends to be somewhat more self-effacing than that of some of our neighbours, but I am proud and privileged to call myself Canadian.  Our national birthday provides the perfect annual opportunity to sing that from the rooftop patios, balconies, lakeside beaches or city streets.

Happy Birthday Canada.  May you have many more.

11 comments on “Happy Birthday Canada!

  1. Great list!!! This will keep me busy as I hide out during the impending tornado/storm! Hey, did you see this, just out today a tribute to Canada by the Hadfield bro’s:

    • colemining says:

      Didn’t think I could love him (them) more. Tears of pride.

      Hope the storm passes you over- it’s still relatively clear here- although the humidity is quite something.

      Happy Canada Day, Booksy!

  2. bethbyrnes says:

    Happy Birthday, Happy Canada Day, “Oh, Canadaaaa …” (imagine my singing this). (and yes, SCOTUS, wtf indeed! – we are retrogressing rapidly here)(meanwhile, Ford did his latest mea culpas yesterday, was it? Are you buying it? …)….

    • colemining says:

      Beth- uh, no. Didn’t buy what he was selling. Especially since he still refuses to answer a few pretty important questions. And doesn’t have a sincere bone in his body. He was heckled and opted to leave a Canada Day parade, today. So perhaps that means that his star is continuing its plummet. Hard to say though. People (and US Supreme Court Justices- Ruth Bader Ginsberg, excepted) are disappointing me lately.

      ‘Twas a festive birthday regardless. Thanks for the visit! xo

  3. DyingNote says:

    What you said about your Canadianess brings up something that I’m quite found of saying – people often confuse jingoism with patriotism. From what I’ve seen of your posts, you come through as someone displaying the latter. Happy Canada Day!

    And thanks for the link to Lostandfoundbooks and for the music you’ve featured here. Some are familiar, some new to me. In a coincidence a recent post on Rick’s Surroundedbyimbeciles blog got me listening to Gordon Lightfoot again after many years.

    • colemining says:

      DN- too true. And I very much like to think that my patriotism isn’t blind. I speak out when I see stuff I don’t like- and let my votes and my volunteering speak to change when it is required. I’m not sure how patriotism came to be confused with unquestioning loyalty to everything a government might do (although I have my theories)- but that ain’t me. Or most Canadians, I’d argue. We treat our leaders with the respect they earn- and the disrespect they deserve- and never for a moment let them think that they are infallible or less than human.

      Booksy’s page is great! Glad you went and had a visit. She and I share a love for old books and bookstores- and a true Canadian love of our country and its literature and music. We have so many great musicians- my list could have gone on for pages and pages and pages. I love that Rick got you listening to Gordie- he’s a true Canadian treasure. No one like him.

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Happy Canada Day, Cole. I didn’t know you rolled your ‘r’s’ as well! Have a great time. Thought I was going to have to put a placeholder on the music – I love that idea – but I managed to sneak the time to listen to all but one that wouldn’t play. So much new here for me and thoroughly enjoyed. Chris Hadfield seems and sounds awesome. I even had a wee tear in my eye at the family’s tribute and his cover of Bowie.
    With your blessing, I’ll reblog this as a lovely testament to national pride for all.x

    • colemining says:

      Of course! Thank you for the reblog! Cmdr. Hadfield is a true treasure- he is just amazing. That ‘Canada’ video he and his brother did? It’s everywhere now. So proud of him- and you should see how he engages kids when he gets talking about science and education. Born teacher and all-round hero. The Order of Canada people hit on all cylinders this year.

      Placeholders are great (I’ve got one on your blog tour- and the response to your email, right now)- as long as you don’t let them get too out of hand. When did summer become such a busy time? It used to be all about the leisure and lately I’m rushing madly.

      Thanks for reading and sharing, Anne-Marie. xo

  5. Reblogged this on scottishmomus and commented:
    A lovely testament to national pride for all. Continuing my global and musical education Cole says it better than I could wish. Together in all our separate identities. Happy Canada Day to all Canadian friends here from a voice that is rightly proud of her nation and smiling throughout her birthday wishes.x

  6. […] ‘placeholdered’ these guys way back last summer. Watching The Last Waltz for the umpteenth time reminded me that they are more than overdue for […]

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