Thursday, November 05, 2009

symbolism.

Canada Day stage, Parliament Hill, Ottawa,
July 1rst, 2008


45 years ago, a debate raged across this country over the creation of our national flag. It was serious stuff because it was symbolically a huge step towards a nation growing more independent. Plus, it was a daring design compared to the flags of other countries. Simplistically unique, with the red representing St. George's cross, (St. George being the patron Saint of the United Kingdom) and the white representing the middle portion of the flag of France (which stands for equality), Canada's official colours were adopted.

A few months later, on February 15th, 1965 the decision was made. The Parliament in Ottawa voted for and adopted the Maple Leaf. It's odd to look back on how this was even an issue because our flag has taken on much more patriotic meaning, especially when it is flown or waved during international events. The red maple leaf stands out proudly.

This is a new feeling. Patriotism often isn't a comfortable fit for Canadians. We were a reluctant lot, standing in the shadows of our neighbours to the south and the predominant countries which were involved in our Conferderation. The only places where you saw the flag flying when I was growing up was in front of institutions. Now, you see it everywhere, especially on Canada Day. On that day, EVERYONE wears red and white.

In a country where a sassy bravado is a faux pas, where boasting is frowned upon and considered rude, its ironic that RED is the most predominant colour of Canada. I mean really, you can't hide RED. You can't tone it down, tell it to wait its turn, make it queue up behind the other colours vying for attention. RED does have sassy bravado. And so, our vocal patriotism grows as we mature collectively, allowing the colours of our country to help define us, allowing our identity to evolve as an independent, confident group of individuals.

True north, strong and free.

We may still be considered a minor player at the global table. Our history and accomplishments may not be known well beyond our borders. Heck, we struggle to understand one another within our borders ...... from coast to coast to coast.....our geography and provincial history creates communities within a larger one. But, this vast multicultural landscape has a few iconic symbols which tie us as a nation...... many of which are swathed in the colour red.

With glowing hearts.......

This is my second contribution for Carmi's photography theme this week. For more RED offerings, check out Carmi's blog.

7 comments:

TheChicGeek said...

Beautiful post! I love red and I LOVE Canadians! I have never met a Canadian that I didn't like...LOL

Really interesting to read about the history of your great country with glowing hearts:)

Hugs :)
Kelly

BlazngScarlet said...

Fantastic post Dana!
Being a border rat, I know all kinds of Canadian history and such.
I don't know of too many places where you learn the Canadian National Anthem (English & French) alongside our own! lol

As for the red, well, come on, is there ANY other color?! (Red is my favorite!)
But as you say, it is quite ironic when you know Canadian history and Canadians in general. lol

Anonymous said...

Dana:

Love the way your brain works.
Great post on us as Canadians and the color Red

Mavis

Jen said...

I read your blog and Carmi's blog with great anticipation. I SO enjoy learning more about Canada and how you feel and think about your diverse country. I've never been there, but I've wanted to visit for many, many years.

I remember working with a young physical therapist from Saskatoon who had the greatest accent. (The inflection in her tone would go up at the end of every sentence, and I always thought she was asking me a question. :-) She'd smile and tell me how being on the High Plains of West Texas made her miss her home.

Anyway, I've liked every Canadian I've ever met....and I've met many in the health care field. :-)
Be proud, I say. But then again, I'm one of those obnoxious Texans. heeheheee......

Walker said...

I'm a first generation Canadian Greek.
Born in the nation's capital and a PROUD Canadian.
I remember when the flag came out, yeah I am showing my age but I got to hold one of the first Canadian Maple leafs that was ever unfurled.

We are, a quiet lot, probably because it’s so noisy at home, but if I may, I would like to disagree with you on one thing.
We are not a minor player in the world.
We choose to be pacifists until the time comes when we have to cast our shadow over an evil.

Those Canadians that came before us laid the foundation of who we would be as a nation and each time a call went out for help, Canada was there.
Canadian left their mark and blood on many battlefields all over the world and still are.
Not for us but so other may find what we have.
During WWI Canada had the highest percentage of solders according to population in the war.
In WWII secret meeting by world leaders were held here.

We were the first United Nation Peacekeepers; Lester B. Pearson was the one who helped create the United Nations and received the Nobel Peace prize for it.
We love our neighbors but we live by our rules.
We pick and choose the causes to champion.
We are in Afghanistan but not Iraq.

We’re quiet, unless the Leafs are playing the Habs and we like it that way EH?

Great post leading up to Remembrance Day.

Awareness said...

Kelly....Cheers to you! Come on up and visit anytime!

Scarletina.... I know! I was weaned on American TV and learned the National Anthem for both countries around the same age. We're very lucky to have grown up so close to the border to appreciate one another's history and funny quirks. :)

Mavis.... My brain is a scary thing. I often don't know how it works or why I end up with such bizarre intrusive thoughts. But, hey..... It's been with me this long, I guess I'll keep it.

Jen.... Thank you. I love reading Carmi's perspective on this country too. I grew up close to the area he lives in now, and was influenced greatly by Toronto and Lake Ontario. Carmi's take has a great perspective because he's a Montrealer at heart. Those two cities represent the French/English diversity of this country.
The accents? Yes, there are some different ones across this country, though its funny I seem to hear more of a wide range in the States. But, living in the Canadian Maritimes, I'm surrounded by different intonations and accents. Today, I was in a store and an older couple from Newfoundland were in there.... I knew it right away by their beautiful lyrical lilt in their happy voices.

ps. Texans can teach us a thing or two about being more open about our patriotism. That would be a good thing.

Walker, I wholeheartedly agree with all that you have mentioned and chose not to delve into it with this post because when I started going down that road, the post became too long. I am very proud of our important and critical role on the international stage. We have a reputation we should all be proud of. However, when compared to the superpowers across the globe, we are considered a minor player. Yes, we are at the same table as the big bucks, and we do have an equal say on certain agenda items. We also have a HUGE role to play in persuading other larger more powerful countries to consider different tactics etc. (ie. Our stance on Apartheid). Sadly, no one really gives a rats ass about our history or what we are all about. I'd like them to be, but reality is that they don't know even the basics about this country.

As for the Leafs? I'm INCENSED with their playing and make my voice HEARD, especially when they are playing the Habs. :)

Gypsy said...

I have it on good authority that Canadians and Aussies are a lot alike. No wonder I like you so much D.

PS I will come back to read the remaining 10 posts I have yet to get to later.