July 1st is Canada Day. This is the holiday in which we celebrate the birth of Canada by getting stuck in traffic for hours and hours and throwing firecrackers at each other. Canadians are a hardy lot.
I want to be serious for a moment and give some thought as to how this country was born (definitely a breech birth with lots of screaming.)
Canada became a country in 1867. I wasn’t at the original Fathers of Confederation gig in PEI. But I suspect it went something like this.
Father 1 of Confederation: “So. Do we all want to band together as one country and get ourselves universal healthcare? Pass the hootch.”
Father 2 of Confederation: “Yeah, okay, eh. Sounds good. Pass the hootch.”
Father 3 of Confederation: “Snore….”
Meanwhile, the Mothers of Confederation were busy doing useful things like making bannock and throwing venison on the barbie. And when they found out…well, let me just say there was hell to pay.
“You bozos didn’t include a Caribbean Island?? Come on Mildred…Abigail. We’re buying a trailer in Florida.”
Because you see: Canada is cold. It is particularly cold during the months of winter, which can fiendishly usurp months from autumn and spring, and hold them ransom until summer.
And then, just to be contrary, the guys with the hootch made Ottawa the capital of Canada.
Why did they choose Ottawa? Apparently they were afraid the Yanks might capture the capital if they put it in some desirable place like Toronto. (Too close to the border, with great shopping and restaurants.)
I’m told that Ottawa and Moscow are considered the worst places to be posted if you are an Ambassador. This is because they are the two most northern capitals in the world…well, capitals of any country to which humans might actually want to go.
Personally, I think this is a great exaggeration. No one wants to go to Ottawa and Moscow.
Okay, Okay. Ottawa can be a pretty place in summer. Thing is, it is held ransom by Jack Frost most of the rest of the year. Look at a map. Ottawa is dangerously close to the Arctic Circle. (In actual fact, so are Aurora and Newmarket. If you’re wondering why your commute into Toronto takes so long…)
In hindsight, I figure the Fathers of Confederation did a pretty good job after all. Since 1867, Canada has never been invaded by Americans. We have universal health care. And best of all, we get rid of our politicians by sending them to Ottawa every winter.
Talk about punishment.