Wednesday, 05 July 2017 11:11

Marking a national birthday with many events feels disjointed

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Has anyone else been feeling like Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations are a little all over the map?

Maybe that’s not the right thing to be saying right after Canada Day, but it feels as if there has been no concerted effort to mark this monumental anniversary in one really big way across the country.
The problem could be that it’s not possible due to the virtual size of the country and diversity of the population.
Last year, people began to hear the rumblings about potential activities for Canada’s sesquicentennial (bonus points for people who can say that three times), and the federal government released the anniversary logo. Federally, special grants were handed out to communities in honour of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, but they were geared for legacy projects around recreation and leisure.
Some communities will be able look fondly upon that new roof on the curling rink or water park addition and say, “thanks Canada, 150 years strong.”
So many other communities don’t have that privilege, so how do they remember this monumental anniversary?
If you are a school child in Medicine Hat in a certain grade, you will have received a small sapling to plant in honour of the anniversary — but that was thanks to a private donation from an individual with the backing of a service club.
Others have marked the event already with extra special fireworks presentations or added events that took place as the nation came together to honour the country’s birthday, as is done year after year, on July 1.
I guess those live in the memories of the people who attended them, unless they were able to capture them digitally.
How then do we as individuals take note of this special year? What do we have that we can share with our children and grandchildren to note that we were alive and well in 2017 — Canada’s sesquicentennial?
We’re hard-pressed to find the answer to that question. The Canadian Mint may have the answer, as they’ve released a commemorative coin set one can purchase or keep fingers crossed one of the coins shows up in change.
It’s hard not to feel a little let down as one of the few ways to mark this year’s big anniversary is through its commercialization.
Purchase a T-shirt, keychain or stuffie with the logo on it to commemorate the event.
More affordable for some would be to make a scrapbook of the polls and news reported for the year, around the 150th anniversary.
Let’s hope by the time the country turns 200 — Canada’s bicentennial — a federal government can come up with one really big way to mark it for every citizen who enjoys the benefits of this great land.
We’ll throw out the idea of no federal taxes that year so those in power have the next 50 years to determine how to make that happen.
Rose Sanchez is assistant managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact her with your comments about this opinion piece at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor