Why I Wave The Flag In My Garage

Raising the Centennial Flag, 1967, Bill Montaigne fonds C 239-3-0-3263, Archives of Ontario, I0052640

Raising the Centennial Flag, 1967, Bill Montaigne fonds
C 239-3-0-3263, Archives of Ontario, I0052640

By Bruce Williams

I consider myself to be a purposeful Canadian. By that I mean I make a point of realizing I’m Canadian and do my best to be what I think that means.

I am old enough, and was young enough, to be caught up in the Canadian Centennial Celebrations of 1967. That year and its blazing patriotism brought into focus the heritage created by immigrants who came to this territory and created the culture we enjoy, and the culture that continues to evolve every moment. I don’t think a lot of Canadians were very patriotic before then. We were finally being told about the convergence of people from all over the globe and what that meant to our cultural DNA.

My own heritage came from Northern Ireland for the most part, and of course Wales since my last name is Williams.

Since that year of celebration in 1967 I’ve been attracted to the ongoing dialogue across multiple platforms focussed on defining what it means to be Canadian. I’ve chosen to agree with those who say it’s whatever you want it to be. We have that freedom.

My career was in media, which granted me the privilege of interacting with the universe of diverse elements that comprise Canada. Politics, arts, social justice and support, environmental stewardship, economic development, business stewardship, cultural diversity, entertainment, geography, our relationship with the non-human creatures who share this portion of the planet with us, and human interaction with all of it.

The more you know, the better balanced your perspective should be on what we should be doing to be Canadian. To do the right thing.

I get a lump in my throat every time I hear Oh Canada. Every time.

My heart skips a beat when I see the Canadian flag in a crowd, especially a crowd of international flags.

My soul stirs when I am blessed to witness or be part of Indigenous traditional ceremonies, dialogues or events. We’re on their land, we live in the territories they have stewarded for thousands of years. The way we non-Indigenous citizens have tried to morph this land puzzles me sometimes, bit I’m glad there are dialogues ongoing to reconcile a respectful and productive plan to move ahead together.

About the flag waving. I have a 1967 Centennial logo flag hanging on the wall in my garage. When I pull my car into the garage it is straight in front of me. It’s the very 60s logo made up of a series of triangles forming a maple leaf. Look it up, see what you think if it or if it reminds you of the time you may have spent celebrating what Canada was in 1967.

Its there to me as a reminder of how far we’ve come since then in so many ways to be responsible world citizens, but also how far we yet must travel to be the best we can be.

It’s Canada Day. Celebrate however you wish. Celebrate the heritage of your own family and the parts of the world they invested into Canada and the place that holds in the Canada we enjoy today.

Look at one flag among the many you will see today and the person holding it. Imagine the heritage behind the family story. Combine that with a band playing Oh Canada and you might get a lump in your throat.