Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Birthday, My Canada

First, a little background: Canada Day is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire. Originally called Dominion Day , the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year the Canada Act was passed. Canada Day observances take place throughout Canada as well as among Canadians internationally.
Now, on with my story . . .

Saturday, July 1, 1967.
My Grade seven teacher had been harping on endlessly about this important date.
Something about it being Canada’s Centennial.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Canada.
And had celebrated her July 1 birthday with great enthusiasm for each of my 12 years.
I just didn’t see what made this particular birthday so important. Centennial? What did that mean?
Okay, maybe I was just a bit stuck inside my own world . . .
But I was more than willing to go to choir practice to perfect our renditions of ‘Oh Canada!’ and ‘God Save the Queen’.
And excitedly discuss the day’s planned activities with my friends.
And anticipate a holiday, even though it didn’t include missing school.
The day dawned, clear and bright.
And my family wandered over to the newly-erected ‘cairn’ down by the Milk River.
Flags were flying.
And grinning, happy people were beginning to gather.
Lots of people.
I excitedly greeted my friends as they arrived.
Finally came the time for us to assemble on some risers set up near the cairn.
There was clapping and excitement.
We sang. 
To further applause.
And not a few tears.
And then, the speeches.
And, suddenly, I realized what it was that everyone was emotional about.
My country, this country that I loved, was 100 years old.
100.
Wow.
That was significant.
And I was a part of it.
It was 46 years ago.
Today, my country is 146 years old.
Happy Birthday, my beloved Canada.

9 comments:

  1. I well remember that ceremony. Milk River was under 8 different flags over the years and that cairn is dedicated to those countries. I was in the school band then and we were on a large flatbed trailer, situated so that we could be up and dry from the huge water puddle. I felt like a total moron (and probably played like that too). Remember, we were just coming out from the worst spring blizzard in history--six feet of snow in three weeks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah-Ha! That was why there were still snow drifts in the picture! I cropped them out. Too confusing for the first of July . . .
      They must have supplied the risers for us singers for the same reason - to keep us high and dry.

      Delete
  2. That made me teary. That was a great revelation for a 12 year-old. Happy Birthday Canada!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely a very precious 'Ah-Ha' moment!

      Delete
  3. I remember that year, too, Diane - I was 10. I was just thinking today - how could that be 46 years ago?! The Centennial was just a few years back, right??

    Happy Canada Day to you and your family, and your readers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Jenny! And the same back to you and yours!

      Delete
  4. Happy Birthday Canada!!

    Canada is on my list of places to visit when I eventually win the lottery.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very cool. It's fun to get a bit of history from my neighbor's to the north :).

    ReplyDelete

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