Bye Bye Canada Day

5 Jul

Did you notice how people seemed reluctant to even admit it was Canada Day this year? I heard the generic “Happy Holiday” that has come to be applied to Christmas and Easter. And “Happy Long Weekend.” But the response to my “Happy Canada Day” greeting seemed to involve a quick glance around to see if the Thought Police would catch us expressing pride (that’s the old-fashioned kind of ‘pride’) in our country. Like President George W. Bush in 2003 atop an aircraft carrier flight deck with a banner that said Mission Accomplished” behind him, I expected to see our Dear Leader smirking to the cameras and announcing that the task his father had begun in the the early 1980s was now complete.

You may not remember, but Canada Day used to be called Dominion Day. It was the official holiday — established by federal statute in 1879 — that marked this country’s independence from Great Britain. And if the countless references to it in past issues of the Glengarry News are any indication, it once was something we were mighty proud of. However, on the afternoon of Friday, July 9, 1982 — the last day of Parliament before the summer recess — a private member’s bill was passed changing “Dominion Day” to “Canada Day.” I believe only 13 MPs were present. Nevertheless, in the blink of an eye, more than a century of history was redacted like the typical response to a Freedom of Information Request.

And each year since Trudeau’s son ascended to to the throne, our national holiday appears smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror as we speed down the post-nation highway in our shiny new EVs. Those of us who can afford them. 

Bye Bye Allan & Claire

My second ‘fare thee well’ of the week goes out to Allan Walker and Claire Wallace of Dunvegan East. Allan and Claire’s 50-acre retired farm, which is right across from René Trottier’s place, was recently sold to someone from Lachute, Quebec. When I asked why they decided to sell, Claire replied, “(The) property is massive, a real pain in the butt to maintain, especially the lawn.” The couple had planned to enjoy their Dunvegan home for another two or three years, and then move to a house Claire owns in Vankleek Hill. However, the VKH place was rented to a tenant from hell… who, after a four-year struggle, Claire finally succeeded to dislodge. So instead of putting the house on the rental market again, they decided to advance their departure date. “I now fully understand why nobody wants to be a landlord in Ontario,” Claire admitted to me.

The big move is on July 15th. But if you’d like to say goodbye, you’re invited to stop by on July 13th for their down-sizing auction. “I’m very much going to miss this neighbourhood and I’m still going to volunteer at the museum,” Claire told me. As for Allan, he will no doubt continue to play with the Quigley Highlanders Pipes and Drums. Best of luck to you both. Dunvegan’s loss, is definitely Vankleek Hill’s gain.

Great Northern Opry

This past June, a celebration was held at the Moose Lodge in Elliot Lake, Ontario in honour of former Dunvegan resident Jim Graham who, this November, will be officially inducted into the Northern Ontario Country Music Association’s ‘Great Northern Opry’. Jim, a retired teacher, moved to the northern community that uranium built a number of years ago. However, he raised his family in Dunvegan and could always be counted on to play a tune or two at kitchen ceilidhs and other events across Glengarry. No doubt, Jim’s kids… Alyson, Scott and Erin… are proud as punch of their dad. And rightly so. If you’d like to hear Jim Graham perform in person, it’s rumoured he will be one of the headline acts at this year’s Harvest Fall Festival at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum in September. Congratulations Jim!

Early bard bulletin

It’s been a number of years since Company of Fools from Ottawa was in town. One of Canada’s most innovative professional theatre companies, the troupe will be performing their interpretation of Hamlet by William Shakespeare on Thursday, July 27th at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum. It would appear from the Company’s website that they have a little twist in store for the audience: “Returning home to attend her father’s funeral, Hamlet discovers that another ceremony has already taken place: the marriage of her mother to her uncle.” The play starts at 7:00 pm and, as with all Company of Fools productions, there’s no set admission price. The actors will pass a hat after the performance. I’ll have more details about the performance as we get closer to showtime.