Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Celebration of Canada

On Canada Day, July 1st, I join the throngs at the Old Port of Montreal to celebrate our heritage.

A huge white cruise ship is docked alongside yachts and power boats at the harbour and people spill over the concrete walkways and fill the park to overflowing. A stage has been erected for the free performances. I find the most lively and engaging is the Freddie James Project, delivering popular hits including “I Got a Feeling.” The crowds sway and clap, drawn into the pulsating energy of the music and the joy of this celebration.

Surrounding me is a sea of faces – from the very old to the very young – that represents the cultural mix that is Canada. Chinese, Portuguese, Italian, Lebanese, Russian: most of us come from different countries or have parents or grandparents who did…but tonight we unite to show how glad we are to be here.

This is a country where personal freedom is respected, where financial institutions with their more stringent regulations help to keep our resources safe, and healthcare as well as social programs are offered to the masses. We are also considered a tolerant society but will never condone violence and aggression.

Tonight I feel the spirit of the people as hundreds of thousands of miniature maple leaf flags wave in the breeze. Although free concerts take place on Canada Day all over Montreal, this is the biggest party by far. We must be close to a million people.

Interestingly, there is no mention of these events by the media the next day. Happy crowds and a growing national pride do not make news.

What happened on July 1st, though, will forever live on in our memories. And I, like so many others, will continue to celebrate this day.

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