Until 1982, Canada Day was known as Dominion Day. I always thought that had more of a ring to it. Beyond the zippy alliteration, it reminded us citizens that our domain of orderly domesticity was graced by the dominant power of our "Dominus." And the rights granted therein to us by the glorious English crown through her colonial appointee, the right honorable governor general.
There was another problem with Dominion Day. Dominion was the name of a national grocery store chain. It would be like calling the Fourth of July D'Agostino's Day.
Independence (now there's a great name for a day!) came slowly to our country. In 1965, we dumped the old, staid British ensign for our own new flag. It's the one with the big red maple leaf in the middle. A simple, sweet leaf! We also have moose and beavers on our coins. And we call our dollars loonies because the coin has an image of a loon. Another old bird, the Queen of England, is on the other side of the coin.
'I remember singing "God Save the Queen" every morning in school. "Long live our noble Queen!" we belted, thousands of us tubby little obedient Canadians. I guess it worked. She's still alive. Now they sing "O Canada" in schools and at most sporting events; usually in French and English. Around the time we were changing anthems, dumping ensigns and renaming holidays, the official use of both languages became mandatory, except in Quebec where the required use of English is a bit fuzzy.
Canada Day comes and goes modestly every year. Sure, there are retail sales promotions and a long weekend. But there isn't bluster or commodity in Canadian celebration. Canada isn't big on bunting. Or jet flyovers, fireworks, marching bands or military pomp.
Canadians defer. We save our loonies and we don't jaywalk. It's illegal, eh. We drive safe. We stand on guard at red lights, even when there is no traffic. We wait for clear, green governing lights to signal our turn and lead us on. Then we tuck our heads down, under woolly toques and worn-out scarves, one eye barely open, squinting headlong into the harsh prairie wind, cautiously, quietly, demurely Canadian.