Friday, July 7, 2017

Crowds at Canada 150 by Piya Campana

This past weekend I was lucky enough to spend Canada Day with friends in Ottawa, our nation’s capital, and, as you can imagine, celebrations were amped up considerably for our 150th birthday.

There was a lot going on, but the highlights for me were seeing Gordon Lightfoot perform on Parliament Hill (though we were limited to the live video stream on the street), the spectacular fireworks show and…well…the crowd’s quintessential Canadian behaviour.
Managed to get a good view

What do I mean by this? Well, there were people everywhere.

In red and white, of course!
But not once did I encounter any rudeness, pushiness or even any symptoms of bad mood. Everyone was in high spirits, spending the day with their friends and family. Everyone was helping each other: my friends and I were trying to make our way toward Parliament Hill in order to get a glimpse of the elaborate stage setup (and possibly the Prime Minister) when a fellow attendee rushed toward us and let us know we were heading to a queue that didn’t go anywhere and to take a different route.  We would have been waiting for hours without her help!

There were many tourists visiting Ottawa to partake in the festivities, and not only were Canada 150 staff helping out with directions and recommendations for things to see and do, so was everyone else, which warmed my Canadian heart.

I have travelled to many countries and have always encountered kindness, but the laid back, friendly attitude of this large-scale crowd in Ottawa really impressed me and reminded me that it is possible to achieve a sort of small-town intimacy in a large city. Much like we see in our books.

…And I got to have a beavertail!

Garlic-cheese…the best.

What makes you proud of your community? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

26 comments:

  1. Piya, I'm glad you got a chance to experience Canada's 150th birthday in the nation's capital. I was saddened when I saw that there was rain in Ottawa in the morning, but from your photos, it looks like the skies cleared for the celebration.

    To answer your question, we live a short distance north of Toronto, in a relatively small town. In addition to the beauty of the Oak Ridges Moraine, I love how friendly people are. They're quick to say hello or offer a cheerful wave to strangers.

    Thank you for sharing your Canada Day experience with us, Piya!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Kate! Not pictured is the sudden rainfall that delayed one evening concert but effected an impromptu mud-sliding contest (in which I did not participate but cheered on from the sidelines :))

      Delete
  2. What a fun way to celebrate! I've always lived where I do and subsequently love it here and love the people here, but I'm a square peg in a politically round hole, so it's not nearly as comfortable here as it used to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Liz! That definitely does sound uncomfortable. But I'm glad that there are other aspects that you love about where you live, and I hope you have at least a small like-minded community there, too.

      Delete
  3. Happy Birthday, Canada!! The celebration sounded like lots of fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Leigh! It was a nice getaway. :)

      Delete
  4. I'm glad you enjoyed the day, Piya, in spite of the crowds and that beaver tail looks like a yummy version of the standard sweet one. We had a low-key celebration on Garden Island with the annual July 1 lawn cocktail party and of course, spectacular fireworks from Fort Henry across the water. No matter the country or the community, these events are important whether as opportunities for reflection or simply, celebration. Happy summer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds lovely, Janice! A very happy summer to you, too.

      Delete
  5. It looks like you had a great time, Piya. What a cute photo of you and your garlic-cheese. I would be smiling too! I love cheese!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, thanks, Jill! It was one of the highlights, for sure. :)

      Delete
  6. How fun! Those fireworks look spectacular. I live in a tiny town where people are always friendly and helpful. I like the comforting feeling of living in a place where I know there's always someone around if I need help. And I like being able to return the favor. Going to sporting events and activities is always fun because you know so many of the kids participating. You can cheer for everyone by name. (:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds so nice, Carol! Love the idea of cheering everyone on. :)

      Delete
  7. Great fireworks, Piya! I love how you describe the warm spirit of Canadians :). Makes me want to visit! I've lived in huge cities and small towns (such as now) and I must say I'm a small town girl at heart. It does depend on the town too, though. Kind of like Liz mentioned, I did live in a smaller town once where I didn't feel like I fit in or was welcome. However, I love where I am now and the people are much like you described above. Even strangers passing on a walk or in a store will greet or laugh about something in a quick exchange...as if they've known each other forever. When my parents moved up last year, my mom came grocery shopping with me and after she heard me talking to someone she asked where I knew them from. I replied that I didn't know them at all. She was stunned at how friendly everyone is around here :).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love this glimpse into your life, Rula. :) And I do hope you visit Canada sometime.

      Delete
  8. Your celebration looks great. I grew up in a small town and so wanted to leave as I disliked everyone knowing everyone else's business. But after moving around to various larger cities where people didn't neighbor, I find myself longing for the good old days. Or wishing the U.S. had the Canadian spirit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Roz! It was fun. I have to say as a big-city Torontonian I don't neighbor much myself day-to-day (Canadian or not :)), but it's really nice to see that spirit shine through when it does!

      Delete
  9. Well, I loved your post and all the comments, but I have to say I'm stuck at envy over seeing Gordon Lightfoot live. It was a thrill years ago to see him at Ravinia Park, a wonderful outdoor venue near Chicago, and I'd so enjoy seeing him again. Some performers maintain their magic throughout their careers. He's sure one of them. My visits to Canada always stand out as highlights of my travels! I just love it there. Thanks for sharing your wonderful day and Canada's spirit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Virginia! I was truly in awe. I wish he'd gotten to play longer that evening.

      Delete
  10. ♪ღ♪*•.¸¸¸.•*¨¨*•.¸¸¸.•*•♪ღ♪¸.•
    *¨¨*•.¸¸¸.•*•♪ღ♪•*•♪ღ♪¸.•
    ♪ღ♪HAPPY BIRTHDAY♪ღ♪
    *•♪ღ♪*•.¸¸¸.•*¨¨*•.¸¸¸.•*•♪¸.•
    *¨¨*•.¸¸¸.•*•♪iღ♪•«Happy Happy Birthday, Canada!!! Love this post and wish I could've been there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is so sweet, Patricia! I hope you had a great weekend!

      Delete
  11. Your celebration sounds amazing. I remember the bicentenial celebrations in the US. Our little town had a big July 4th in the park. The fireplugs were painted like toy soldiers. All the organizations booth with food or activities. Our Girl Scout troop had a game to toss a canning ring over a coke bottle and win a cold coke. We marched in the parade as well. There was music --not Gordon Lightfoot calibre but still fun. And fireworks of course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds perfect, Beth. I never could win those ring-toss type games! Hope your Fourth of July was just as fun this year.

      Delete
  12. Piya, this post was like celebrating all over again. Your description of the fun, and especially the people, makes me want to visit!! So warm and friendly. The way we should all be to each other. Thanks for the fireworks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Catherine! And you're very welcome for the fireworks--I was excited to use the GIF function on my phone's camera. :)

      Delete
  13. My daughter showed up in Ottawa on July 2 for her summer program there, but as a mother, I'm relieved to know she's in a super friendly city. Our small town also had fireworks set to music. I missed it because I was trying to catch a few hours of sleep before my airport run but I heard it was a tearjerker! Thanks for sharing, Piya.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Your celebration sounds like a lot of fun. I remember visiting Toronto years ago. Lovely city. Our small town Fourth of July celebration, with its parade and fireworks, always has a big turnout.

    ReplyDelete