Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Happy Birthd'eh Canada

I must admit that this is the first time that I have ever spent Canada Day in another part of the country. I have been abroad for the big birthday (if you consider Zionsville Indiana abroad) but never north of the 49th other than in the Big Smoke. That all changed today as we were amongst the first in the nation to celebrate Canada's 147th. We had a day that was distinctly Canadian.

It began as we made our way out of Bonavista and happened to run smack into the town's Canada Day parade. It consisted of the entire volunteer fire department (2 trucks), police force (2 patrol cars), 4 kids on bicycles, and the mayor driving a convertible decked out in our national colours. Not a single local booed him. Imagine that?

We wound our way back up the province toward Twillingate when we had out first moose sighting on the Trans-Canada Highway. Baby Bullwinkle was just meandering on the shoulder in search of breakfast and had zero interest in the passing cars. The only thing that would have made this experience more Canadian were if he were dressed in Mountie Red and covered in maple syrup.

Twillingate is a lovely little former fishing village that has found eternal fame in the great Newfoundland folk song I's the B'y. At the moment however, it is the centre of the world's attention because of the hundreds of icebergs headed in down iceberg alley. The show is spectacular and best viewed from the lighthouse and point at the top of town. I must admit that the sight of all of these floes, while visually stunning, has me very concerned about climate change. The locals here have been telling us over and over again how unusual this year has been. The glaciers and chunks of Greenland are eroding so fast that it is causing this season's show, but it should worry us all and what we are doing to the planet. And yes....climate change is real!!

We ended the day at a traditional Newfoundland kitchen party with local folk artists The Split Peas. These 7 women have been performing together for over 20 years. (Their rendition of I's the B'y was featured in the movie The Shipping News.)They do old favourites and original compositions, and just have a grand old time with all of it. Their shows are staged at the Orange Union Hall, and they serve the local delicacy of toutons, tea, and patridgeberry perserves at intermission. I haven't tried it yet, but I will before we leave. The evening ended with the entire audience singing the Ode To Newfoundland and O Canada. How patriotic is that?

Happy Birthday Canada. I just love this country.

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