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Happy Canada Day

Friday, July 1, 2011, 14:14 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

Happy Canada DayMy Canadian readers are beginning their long holiday weekend today, just a day before we here in the United States begin ours. I wanted to take a moment to wish all of them a wonderful weekend, even though I know that some of them are in places where the internet isn’t easily accessible, on sandy beaches or vast lakes or wooded islands on northern rivers.

I have a surprising number of readers from Canada (or, at least, the servers through which they connect to the internet are located in Canada). The ClustrMap® in the sidebar shows that about 6% of visitors arrive via Canada-based servers, so that figure doesn’t include at least one loyal reader whose internet service comes out of the U.S. My SiteMeter statistics reveal that on any given day, I get visitors from British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario; less frequently readers come here by way of Manitoba, Québec, or Nova Scotia. Can’t say I’ve ever noticed visitors from the other provinces, though I don’t check on a regular basis.

The point is that 6% is a pretty good number of visitors from a country with a population only about 11% of the United States’ population. (For comparison purposes, 73% of my readers come through U.S.-based servers.) The percentage surprised me a bit when I looked it up because much of what I write is commentary on U.S. politics. I guess what brings in the foreign readership is the other stuff, whether it be commentary on international news stories or posts about more universal subjects like music, humor, and daily life. Or perhaps it’s my sparkling wit.

Whatever the reason, I’d like to send good wishes to those Canadians now reading this, as you celebrate your holiday, analogous to mine comoing up on Monday in that both commemorate the formation of our respective countries. Our foundings are starkly different, of course; mine arose from more than a decade of seething discontent that led to six and a half years of violent revolution, while yours evolved slowly and more peaceably. You still have strong ties to the nation we fought to gain our independence, as can be seen in the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. But we’ve been consistent good buddies of the Brits since the end of that unfortunate War of 1812 (did you know we fought you then, too?) and now all of us, together with Australia and New Zealand, are like one big happy Anglophone family. Excepting those stubborn Quebecers, of course, though I’m convinced more of them understand English than are willing to admit.

Speaking of Québec, I was in Montréal in 1999 for the Jazz Festival, and our stay included July 1. We thought it would be fun to check out the Canada Day parade down Ste. Catherine Street. It was a lot like what you might see in a patriotic parade in any America city, except with a different flag. There were ethnic groups with bands and floats—the [fill in ethnic or national name here]-Canadian Society and things of that nature—that evoked the immigrant history of the area. What I found oddly conspicuous was the repetition of the theme of one united Canada. For people in the other provinces, I would imagine, the idea of a united nation is so obvious as to be not even worth thinking about. That’s how it is here, although it wasn’t always so, and that’s another difference between our two countries’ histories; we not only had states follow through with secession threats but also fought a fierce and bloody war over it.

But I doubt history is much on the minds of many north of the border this weekend. Most of the what’s on the agenda is fun, as it should be. So get out there, have fun, and be safe.

Categories: history, holidays
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