In the grand scheme of world affairs, when it comes to the concept of countries and the long history of other countries and their continuous experiments with nationhood, Canada at 150 is still quite young with its experimenting. In 1967, we celebrated our centennial and I can’t help but remember that as a teenager then, it seemed like we were all, young and older, let out of school for a summer vacation that would never end.
The World’s Fair – Expo 67, came to Montreal. We had our crisp new two-year-old red and white Canada flag. Our year-end school trip included a visit to Ottawa’s Parliament Buildings and The Thousand Islands Boat Cruise! The Greyhound bus ride and six rolls of colour film bought you enough memories for another fifty years. So here we are – 2017.
The motto for Expo 67 was “Man and His World”. Somehow, this time around, the masculine tone of that phrase is certainly out of step with where we are today with the journey of women’s rights and gender identification. How far we have come. Yes, the world came to Canada in 1967 with pavilions representing sixty countries in a futuristic city floating on the St. Lawrence River. In many ways it might be said, the world never left – when you consider how over the last fifty years our country has grown as a truly multi-cultural society.
Our Canada 150 celebrations to some, may seem a little lightweight in comparison to the exuberance of centennial year, and also as someone pointed out, we are really only celebrating the sesquicentennial of our Confederation in 1867. Before that, there is a history of the making of Canada, that became nationhood as we now know it. That pre-150 history, if you will, is something of a grand legacy, of a country’s longevity that can’t be forgotten as we wave out our re-branded 150 flag.
“For there was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real”
Gordon Lightfoot – The Canadian Railway Trilogy, 1967