What do the following terms mean to you?
Badge. Banner. Canton. Colours. Ensign. Field. Fly. Halyard. Hoist. Hoist Rope. Jack. Staff. Standard. Union.
Perhaps 'jack' is the word that stands out the most, as in 'you don't know jack'! If you guessed that they were all terms relating to flags, then you're a certifiable genius. Don't get too excited though. You've got to keep in mind that your genius is being certified by a forty-six year old man who spends his mornings writing about dog poop, surfing and men called Dick. What I do in the afternoon is still a mystery to everyone, including myself.
My image today is of a Chestnut canoe's keel. I've tweaked the image to make it look just a little more artistic. At one point I had just the reddish image in the centre with a black and white canoe on each shoulder. It loosely reminded me of the Canadian flag. It doesn't take much to send me madly off in all directions.
I like the Canadian flag. It's uniquely Canadian since maple trees don't grow south of the border. All that talk of Vermont maple syrup is just hogwash. I know there's a secret pipeline from Quebec to the United States. I still can't believe that our government would trade maple syrup for Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, but the government doesn't always act in our best long term interests (is your computer powered by Hydro Quebec this morning, Shawn?).
The Canadian flag with its red maple leaf made it's first appearance on February 15, 1965. The story of the Canadian flag is quite interesting and can be read in summary on Wikipedia. You can check it out here. I found it to be enlightening. I wonder how those who saluted the Canadian Red Ensign, our previous flag, felt about the change. Our old flag was rather dowdy, looking like something that would flap in the unsettling winds of Coronation Street.
I'd be pretty pissed off if someone suggested that we change the maple leaf. Some things are sacred. Can you imagine if someone suggested selling NB Power to another province? How would you feel about giving up control of one of our life preserving resources? Would you like to have Quebec run our schools? Or our health care, for that matter?
I've decided, as perhaps you have, that the maple leaf is the perfect symbol for our country, though the canoe is a strong second, followed by the hockey puck, the apple fritter and the Canadian Tire logo. There is a group in Toronto that wants the maple leaf switched to it's natural colour, blue. Two years in the penalty box for such blasphemy, I say.
The canoe is a logical choice if we ever tire of the maple leaf. The first nations people invented it. The French voyageurs paddled it to the second most remote place on earth, Baie Comeau, and dropped off the Mulroneys in hope that they'd never be heard from again. Oops, should have paddled them to Minto, I guess. The English struggled with the canoe. Tom Thompson, of Group of Seven fame, buried himself in one, more or less. It's the ultimate Canadian way to die. I'm not sure what the Eskimos thought of the canoe...probably rolling in their graves, and kayaks, with laughter at the canoe's clumsy nature.
Try loading a moose and a peanut butter sandwich in a kayak, Arctic boy.
If you do some research on canoes, as I have, you'll discover that there is discussion about canoes originating in the Netherlands. That seems a rather dubious suggestion. I'll grant them Gouda cheese, tulips, clogs, sexy skintight orange outfits and their associated Olympic speed skating medals, but I'll never surrender the canoe. It's ours. You can read about the history of the Canadian canoe here, if that would make you happy.
I feel just slightly more proud and Canadian this morning, especially with all this talk of canoes and maple leaves. I think I'll go out and celebrate my Canadianism. No, I'm not going to put on Stanfield's underwear, chug a double-double and hoist the Stanley Cup above my head...that's ridiculous. Real Canadians don't wear underwear!
What?! They do??
Oh.....I see. Well, it looks like I'll be going to Winners this afternoon.