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.