Canada Day is my favourite holiday, second only to Halloween (uh, hello, strangers giving you candy that you're allowed to eat? Score!).
This year, we seriously debated going away; most of our friends are heading off to cottages and things, or have "moved beyond" the downtown crush (ie. have kids and/or are expecting). Aside from having a class that I didn't sub out on Saturday (Attack at noon at Rideau - any takers?), one important factor stopped me from making those plans. No to camping, no to cottaging... I gotta be downtown.
I have spent only one Canada Day away from Ottawa since I moved here in '91. I went to a family reunion outside of Windsor. There is, of course, a road trip story involving my plucky little Snotmobile, a 12-hour drive (Snotty could barely break 100), and being woken up by the cops because they thought I was a dead body, but that's not important right now.
The preparations begin...this was taken Friday, June 29 at 12:35 pm.
I get to hear the sound checks from my office.
(check out the live Hillcam)
The important thing is that, once I got the police escort into town, where I found a GoodLife to shower at, there was nothing going on.
For some reason, in Amherstburg, there weren't 400,000 friendly, inebriated Canadians, faces painted, waving flags, hooting and hollering, and randomly breaking out into "Oh Canada". No high-fives, no boom-boom-sparkle-sparkle. No all-encompassing crush of humanity. No full-on, 100% this-is-what-Canada-is-about community spirit.
There were lots of "closed" signs in shop windows, however.
A lot of people say that they don't like the crowds; the press of people that surrounds them, everywhere they go. The long lineups for porta-potties, cold water, and restaurants that charge more that day than any other for a reduced menu. They don't like the store-bought firecrackers that go off every few minutes, or the open beer bottles being carried around. Or the pervasive smell of marijuana, and the fact that the cops don't do anything about it, if just for one day. They don't like making human chains to get them -- winding through a sea of other human chains -- from their prime fireworks-watching spot to wherever they left your car, or sardining themselves into the bus for a long -- and squished -- ride home, where they eventually pile out, sweaty and tired.
And I would never argue with them. They're completely entitled to their opinions.
I'll be on the hill.
Canada Day 2006. I am on the right.