So if you're reading this it means a) it's raining or b) you are in full-body traction, because every other Canadian is out celebrating... what?
The sadly, but safely, named "Civic Holiday" is one being celebrated across the country (although according to Wikipedia -- hey, it's a long weekend here in Ontario and I'm feeling lazy -- those of you in Quebec (apologies: a Quebec), Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Yukon are not getting a holiday. Sorry, amend that -- only the government workers are getting an extra day off in those places, because we all know how hard they freakin' work, and how much they freakin' deserve it. The rest of you barristas, get back to your latte art.
Those principalities bold enough to assign a name to the holiday (thus risking potential alienation of some segments of the population) have gone all out in places. In British Columbia -- and again, I'm reverting to my friend Wiki here -- y'all are brave enough to call it "British Columbia Day." Ditto for "New Brunswick Day" -- guess where? -- and "Saskatchewan Day" -- no hints!-- although weirdly Nova Scotia gets all creative and calls it "Natal Day." Seriously? And what do you call the day before it -- "Pre-Natal Day"?
Leave it to Ontario -- from where I am writing -- to go all complicated. Obviously one generically named holiday is not good enough for us. So:
In Ontario, the day may be known as Simcoe Day in honour of the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and the promulgator of the Act Against Slavery; the Scotiabank Caribbean Cultural Festival, formerly known as Caribana, is held this holiday weekend in Toronto, coinciding with Emancipation Day. Civic Holiday may also be known by one of a number of local appellations such as Mountie Day in North York, Colonel By Day in Ottawa, George Hamilton Day in Hamilton, Joseph Brant Day in Burlington, Founders' Day in Brantford, McLaughlin Day in Oshawa, Alexander Mackenzie Day in Sarnia, James Cockburn Day in Cobourg, Peter Robinson Day in Peterborough, and John Galt Day in Guelph, as well as numerous other names in smaller municipalities.
I am definitely waiting on that citation. But wait... the name that shouts out to me is "Scotiabank Caribbean Cultural Festival -- formerly known as Caribana."
First, as we all know, Caribana is not a pop star, and therefore can't go the "formerly known as" route. It is a crazy Caribbean festival, alternately loved and loathed by Toronto's inhabitants. There is dancing in the streets, goat-based street food, traffic jams, a general looking-the-other-way on public drug use, culminating (unfailingly) in some sort of shooting or stabbing incident. Then the next day the blogs and opinion pages will be filled with outraged columns saying either, 1) the shooting or stabbing incident is because of our lax immigration laws and politically correct non-enforcement of aforementioned drug use; or 2) it's racist to draw attention to the shooting or stabbing incident in an otherwise wonderful festival celebrating our multi-cultural society.
Whatever you think of it, it's hardly something you'd associate with a bank.
And yet isn't everything subject to corporate branding these days? It's gone beyond the weirdly named stadiums, like FedExField, that have no reference to the team or civic culture which they have just bought into. We have now reached even supposedly organic ethnic festivals brought to you by Scotiabank (although I'm sure the corporate spokesmen will hastily add disclaimers for any stabbing or shooting -- read the small print on your spliff...). However, unlike in years past, I'm sure you'll be able to buy many types of slickly produced souvenirs: Scotiabank rastafarian wigs; Scotiabank Jamaican patties; Scotiabank official Bob Marley bobbing head dolls; Scotiabank bong pipes; Scotiabank commemorative Che Guevara T-shirts (wait, wouldn't Che have been against Scotiabank?).
Maybe it's time for a large corporation to buy the rights to our lamely titled "Civic Holiday." Let's just put it out to the highest bidder, shall we? Tim Hortons Day. Labbatt's Blue Day. Surely those are themes all Canadians could rally around? Although if we are going to the truly highest bidder, I guess we'll wind up with:
Enbridge Pipeline National Celebration Day.
* * *
Digressing now to the theme of this column, which is the week brought to you by The Huffington Post Canada. And what a GREAT week that always is!
First, we finished up with the coverage of our editorial lunch with Conrad Black, a.k.a. Lord of Crossharbour, in which he coyly flirted with the possibility of getting back into the media game. That caused quite the media frenzy. However, having been in the room with the Lord when he played this card, it should be stressed that he made it clear that all was contingent on his becoming a citizen again. But you could see that Citizen Black was "not irreconcilable" to the idea, as he might put it -- but nor was he issuing a call for resumes. He also answered our readers' very interesting questions -- which you can read his replies to here.
Our star Ottawa bureau chief, Althia Raj, was ahead of the competition as always with her scoop about Adam Carroll, the Liberal staffer who was asked to resign for creating a Twitter account that spilled details of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews divorce (vikileaks), being hired back by the party's head office.
Meanwhile, the newsroom was thrown into overtime with not one but two new vertical launches ("sections," if you will, for you dead tree types): HuffPost Canada Impact and
HuffPost Canada Music. Big piece on the latter, re: Canada's Kathleen Edwards on how she's much more than "Bon Iver's girlfriend."
(Old fogey alert: I had to Wikipedia those references. Hilarity in newsroom ensues.)
In Blog Town, where I'm from, we had a bunch of blogs of interest: you can read about a vegetarian's defence of the seal hunt by Justin Beach, here; apparently, the Attawapiskat reservation should be renamed Atta-whassup-wit-that, according to MP Carolyn Bennett, who commented critically upon the federal court ruling this week that said it was the Tories, and not the First Nations, who royally messed up wit that.
And of course I'm sure you will continue to follow all the ups and downs of the summer Olympics on our big news page here.
As for me, I'm about to pour my Hendrick's gin-and-tonic and celebrate this LCBO Day in Ontario.
**Correction made to blog per commenter "Newfoundlander." Thanks Newfoundlander -- as noted, I'm a gin drinker not a beer drinker. But if I were even more Canadian I assume I would drink rye?
Follow Danielle Crittenden Frum on Twitter: www.twitter.com/figtreevine