Monday, July 03, 2006


Montreal is an exciting bilingual city. June 24th was la Fete National and French Canadians in the hundreds of thousands all seemed to wave the blue Quebec fleur de lys flag with great exuberance while attending outdoor shows where the leading Quebec Artists performed.

The world cup of football, which we call soccer, taking place in Germany was of exceptional importance to many Montrealers.The loyal fans cheered for heir respective countries of origin, and you could see flags of Italy, Portugal, France, England and Brazil everywhere and when team like Portugal, Italy or France won a game, there were excited ethnic gatherings where expressions of joy abounded.

Last Saturday, was July 1st, Canada, which celebrates the birth of the nation by Confederation which took place July 1st 1867. I decided to drive around parts of Montreal which were predominently English speaking, such as Notre Dame de Grace, Montreal West, Cote St. Luc, and Hampstead. I counted 10 Canadian Flags, 2 on post offices, one on a town city hall, 3 which were flown with flags of Italy, 2 at a retirement residence and 2 at private residences. More than 50,oo people live in these areas and yet there were only ten Canadian Flags.

Despondently, my wife Carol and I drove to our synagogue for Sabbath services. We were honouring a member who was celebrating his 80th birthday and his grandchilren were leading the services. It was quite inspiring but no one mentioned Canada's birthday. As the service was about to end, Carol said that we should sing O Canada. I was reluctant to start, but the women sitting in our row joined Carol and began to sing O Canada and much to my surprise the rest of the congregation joined in and the anthem was sung with a great deal of gusto. After the service, many congregants expressed the opinion that singing the National Anthem was a wonderful idea.

I felt much better driving home, until I realized that I too did not display a Canadian Flag. I was determined to buy a the red maple leaf and show it on my apartment balcony for the rest of the Summer.


At 5:20 AM, Blogger Jeff Milner said...

Very interesting post about Canada Day in Montreal. Thanks for sharing.

I spent Canada Day in Québec City (my first day here and my first time here). I noticed very few people wearing red or looking particularly festive until I went to the Villex-Québec (the old city) where there were lots of Canadian flags and Québec provincial flags - I assume though that these flags fly all year round so it's probably not an indication of flag flying on Canada Day.

Even in Southern Alberta, where I'm from, there isn't nearly the amount of patriotic displays as there is in the United States.

Just my two cents. Thanks for visiting my site.

At 6:27 AM, Blogger Melly said...

Canadians are very proud of who they are, they just do it in their own Canadian subdued way. That's what I think.
We're not nearly as flashy as Americans, and I for one am quite happy about that.
Patriotism is overrated IMHO, yet I'm very happy about the differences that separate Canada from its southern neighbour and I wouldn't want it to change. Ever.
Perhaps, just perhaps, they feel the need to compensate for something, while we're secure in (and happy with) our own identity.

At 2:26 AM, Blogger gary said...

I find that often Canadians don't get very patriotic until they are travelling or living abroad.

At 1:50 PM, Blogger HLS said...

I appreciate the difference between Canadians and Americans. But when I see hundreds of thousands of my fellow Quebeckers waving the Quebec Fleur de Lys flags during St-Jean Baptiste day [La Fete Nationale} and many Canadians of Italian,Portugese and French madly waving the Flags of their countries of origin during the World Cup of football I just think that we could all show a little more exhuberance for our country.

At 1:17 AM, Anonymous Linda Bird said...

Hmmm. A lot of differences among all of us. I'm a "Zonie", which means I am from AriZona. I leave several miles south of Scotts- dale, and most folks in my neighborhood do fly the American flag now, or until just recently as the flags take a beating in our weather.

It's so amazing how well most Americans get along. In my "'hood" we have one black family, two Italian families, some Phillipinoes next door, with the rest having English/Irish/German ancestry/ We are a small neighborhood of 12 homes which value in the $225,000-
$285,000 range. We meet twice a year for Block Watch to discuss safety and crime prevention.

There doesn't appear to be any fighting until you get to ethnic or minority neighborhoods. They act like the Lebanese--fracturing into many different petty groups. each one wanting to be Top Dog. Little do they realize the Power of Numbers. If they banded together, they could be powerful

Thanks for having this forum.


At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed a lot! » » »


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