Canada’s Sesquicentennial is here. I’m too young to have lived through the Centennial in 1967. I often get the impression that there was excitement and progress in general that year. In Montreal, Expo67 defined the culture of the time. In London, a whole bunch of silly buildings were erected. I tried to find a photo of the Centennial Museum on Queens Ave, but I assure you that it was tiny and absurd.
I do remember the 125th anniversary. During that time period, a lot of Canadian bands gained promotion and airplay, like the controversially-name Barenaked Naked Ladies, The Crashtest Dummies and other groups that were featured through Canadian programs like Ear To The Ground and music video programs. There was always a sense that Canadian culture, albeit folksy and cheesy, was something to be celebrated. It seemed more like a time where we celebrated our East-coast culture, before CanCon extended out to Ireland. There was always something goofy about being Canadian but that’s part of our real culture. Not the Molson Canadian or Out Of The Blue versions, not the American poutine doughnut (donut). There are reasons why characters like The Trailer Park Boys resonate throughout the world, why we need an encylopedia for PEI dialect and why our country’s greatest claim is that it is really big. We are a silly nation and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise.
Most of what I hear about our Sesquicentennial is frustration and pessimism, sometimes with a sense that we have little to celebrate. For many Canadians examining their country’s history, sombre reflection has taken the place of hubris and nationalism. Over the past few days, Aboriginal protestors have expressed their understandable frustration with our government throwing a party, spending money frivolously on irrelevant gimmicks like giant red balls ($33,000) and rubber ducks ($120,000), while claiming there is no money leftover once the coffers are overturned.
Everybody Has A Monster
While some celebrate our sesqui-future, I think we should look to our sasqua-past. The season 11 premier of Mystery Science Fiction Theatre 3000 reminded me that cultures around the world have a monster mythos. Canadians have a monster that we can be proud of: the sasquatch!
Celebrate The Sasquacentennial
Here are a few suggestions to help celebrate the Sasquacentennial:
- uncover an hidden sasquatch in photos of Canadian politicians
- grow hair all over your body
- take a blurry, shaking video or photo in the style of the Patterson footage