Today is Canada Day and for the first time sine 2019 people will be able to get together in Ottawa and other cities and towns across the country and share in the various festivities. I remember doing that when I was growing up, we would go to Lockeport and enjoy some strawberry shortcake, or later be in Halifax to attend the Tattoo and see the fireworks. For the many past years since we've had kids we would be camping and enjoying the great outdoors on Canada Day. Last year I did not feel very festive and I know others felt the same. It was shortly after the graves of Indigenous students at the Kamloops residential school had been found, and we were again reminded of the atrocities that have happened within our borders. Many of us were feeling that a big celebration of Canadian pride wasn't appropriate at the time. I think it was the first time in years (and maybe my whole life) I did not wear red and white on that day.
Since then there have been several more unmarked graves of Indigenous children found across Canada and we witnessed the embarrassing (yes, I said it) demonstration in Ottawa and at the US/Canada border about "Freedom". Notwithstanding the claims that we are not a free country, I think that is quite the opposite, we have it pretty darn good here, and yes, we know there are cracks in the veneer. This year I'm not quite ready to don my red and white, and I won't be waving a flag, but I don't begrudge those that are ready to do that and celebrate some of the wonderful things that Canada does offer to its citizens and to the world. I'm not not celebrating, just not doing so with great fervour, as I have done.
Regardless of how you're celebrating or not celebrating this day, consider making a donation to a charity that helps to patch some of those cracks. I chose the Downie Wenjack Fund and I'll be listening to the Tragically Hip (and the Jerry Cans, and Gordon Lightfoot, and the Barenaked Ladies). I have a Canada playlist on Spotify you can check in out here.