Canada: The Story of Us is a CBC drama-documentary of 10 episodes that aired recently (March 26 to May 14); this is the first episode, “Worlds Collide.”
I am old enough to remember Canada’s centennial, which coincided with Expo 67, the world’s fair in Montreal. This was a wonderful and hopeful event. Here we are 50 years later to both celebrate and commemorate Canada’s 150 years as a nation since Confederation, or its sesquicentennial anniversary. Now I no longer live in Montreal but in Toronto and will celebrate in some form here.
We have often been viewed as diplomats and peacekeepers and honest brokers. Canada is by no means a perfect nation, and its has made grievous mistakes in its history, such as with its Indigenous peoples [as an example see here “Statement of Apology;” June 11, 2008], who play an important and essential (but often forgotten) role in Canada’s history. This needs to be seriously addressed to the satisfaction of all parties involved.
Yet, Canada has recently worked hard to change course or, rather, to address and rectify the mistakes it made in its history. This does not have immediate success as some would like, but it takes time and effort on the part of good people to make change come about peacefully. This makes ours a good nation, perhaps even a great nation. May we continue on this fine tradition for a long time.
This is worth celebrating along with the nation’s many fine accomplishments during its years after Confederation, including not only its achievements in arts, culture, sports, technology and science, but also in its moral vision and view as a just society and on the manifold benefits of multiculturalism. This includes ideas like inclusion, tolerance and accommodation. In the best of cases, it includes being welcoming and accepting—not always an easy matter.
Canada might not be viewed as a powerful nation, but we Canadians understand that this is our rightful place. We are neither militant nor war-mongering, but the historical record shows that we will not shirk our duties when these are deemed necessary. Of course, the story of Canada is still being written and I am happy to be part of this continuing narrative. We consider our Constitution as not a fixed legal document but as dynamic and living over time. “What unites us is what Canada should be.”
O Canada in Yiddish: And for something completely different and wonderful, here is a version of “O Canada,” Canada’s national anthem, sung in Yiddish by a multi-cultural choir of 150 people of varying ages and backgrounds. The sole instrumentalist was pianist David Warrack; the choir was conducted by Simon Spiro; and his wife, Aliza Spiro, provided language coaching on how to properly pronounce and sing the Yiddish phrases. This took place at the Zoomerplex in Toronto’s Liberty Village on June 6th. The Yiddish translation was done by Hindy Nosek-Abelson, a lyrical translator of Yiddish poetry and songs, lecturer and Yiddish dialect coach for stage and film. This was first broadcast on Vision TV. You can read more about it [here].