You know, I’ve come to realize over the years that Canada Day has never been one of my favorite holidays. Sure, it mainly exists as a celebratory holiday and one to show off your pride in your country, but I never felt all that invested in it. Even today, my only plans are to go to a family barbecue, even skipping out on the usual fireworks display shown in town. I guess that, while I’ve enjoyed being in this country and take some pride in it, I’ve always preferred holidays with a bit more…tradition to them. Halloween, Christmas and Easter all have significance to me as holidays that not only have interesting backstories but also carry deep-seated yearly (for the most part) traditions within my family. Even as a kid, I found Canada Day more interesting thanks to the activities tied with it, not the history behind it.
But on this Canada Day, I’d like to share one of my favorite C-Day memories from way back. When my sisters and I were younger, my family would make at least one campground outing every summer. We would visit a campground called Lone Pine and camp out with our small, very cozy tent. Aside from the usual camping activities like roasting marshmallows over a bonfire and walking nature trails, the campground also had a few facilities on hand to entertain us. Our personal favorites, before they eventually added a mini-golf course years later, were their outdoor swimming pool and indoor arcade. The pool didn’t have a slide and I don’t remember if it had a diving board, but it was just what we needed on those hot summer afternoons. I remember the arcade was pretty small and didn’t have much selection for games, but my sisters and I would borrow money to occasionally try a fighting or shooting game (their names escape me), or even play a round or two of air hockey.
Anyway, one of our summer outings coincided with Canada Day, so the campground had a few extra activities as a result. They hired a goofy clown (never, ever been scared by them) who would do the usual balloon animal-making shtick. I think I got him to make me a balloon dog. Later in the day, they served a cake decorated to look like a Canadian flag with “Happy Canada Day” in big, frosted letters. And finally, I recall they shot off fireworks once it got dark enough. While the firework shows around here are never as spectacular as those in the cities around us, they always fascinated me as a kid regardless. I can’t remember many other details about the day as it was so long ago, but these parts I DO remember have stuck with me all this time. I feel as though it’s because that was one of if not the most memorable Canada Day celebrations I’ve been a part of. Sure, I’ve done something, big or small, to celebrate it every year, but that’s one of the only ones I still look back on fondly.
It’s hard to say how much longer I’ll even get to celebrate it before my eventual move to the States with my fiance, but I have no doubt I’ll end up treating Independence Day in a similar fashion (though hopefully with more memorable results). Still, even if either of these holidays aren’t up there with my favorites, I do appreciate and respect what they stand for. All countries have to start somewhere, and while I might not celebrate as hard as some Canadians no doubt are today, I still can’t help feeling that bit of Canadian pride now more than ever.