Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Canada Day reflection

Eight years back, the family unit arrived in Niagara Falls, Ont. on Canada Day. This was a confounded nuisance in one particular way: both the LCBO and The Beer Store (the only places one can buy alcoholic beverages in Ontario) were closed. Niagara Falls, of course, seized the opportunity to run the holiday all week.

Our hotel was on an undistinguished suburban four-lane called Lundy's Lane. Apart from thinking the name quaint, the only Americans who do a double-take are historians.

In the War of 1812, this strip of asphalt and tourist hotels was the site of a particularly nasty little battle, fought during the American invasion of Canada (the one with guns), which was based on the assumption that the Canadians were pushovers. The British and Canadians had other ideas about the invasion, inflicting an horrific 41% casualties on the Americans whilst taking 29% themselves. At the end, the defenders had possession of the field, and the Americans turned back.

Nothing shows the differences between the two nations as much as the understated approach to this site. What remains of the battlefield is an early 19th century cemetery (apparently extant at the time) and a plaque or two, period. In the US, one would expect a National Park with open spaces, rangers, tours and a general glorification of the whole bloody mess. One could argue that the hotels and expansion of a country road into a suburban street might be overdoing the cavalier approach, but it can't be mistaken for military glorification.

Today, July is the season when Americans invade Canada with fishing rods, canoes, and kayaks, whilst Canadians invade New England beaches with poutine. May it ever be so, and may we never take friendship for granted.

Happy Canada Day; bonne fete du Canada.


Anonymous B Rian P said...

Aaaa yes Uncle, we value our battlefields ;-)

Welcome to Canada and THANK YOU!!

**Happy 4th ;-)

10:48 pm  

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