Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Canada & USA's Laboured Relations - FLAG THIS!
Well I found myself working in Toronto, Ontario over Labor Day Weekend, which translates into Labour Day in Canadian,
and they celebrate it big time. Despite low clouds and dreary conditions, jets roared overhead all weekend in preparation for the Labour Day Air Show. Merchants laboured in their retail shops as shoppers laboured through the malls. Much like at home, but in an “oh-so-british” way only the Canadians can get away with gracefully. And no, they don’t end all their sentences in eh?, just some of them. But there’s one word that is a dead giveaway. “Sorry”. That word alone can tell you if you’ve been bumped by a Canadian or an American, and often you can determine the exact region they are from simply by stepping in their way.
On Sunday, I was shooting an event at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. A private launch takes you to the island in Lake Ontario where the yachters club, lounge, mingle, and admire the downtown Toronto skyline from afar.
Too bad it was so dismal, gray (or grey), and without even a breath of wind to stir the small regatta into sail. But the shallow waters of the island’s shores were telling, indeed. Just off the dock, drowning in the waters of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, was an American flag. The lake algae had already adorned its edges, and it lay there lifeless, helpless, and nevertheless defiantly proud for all passers by to admire, pity, or ignore. The small ripples in the water almost gave the illusion of the flag blowing in the wind. But it had long ago lost contact with the wind or even air, and it looks as if the Canadians are more than content to leave it be - a subtle reflection of what they must be feeling. The morning’s headlines didn’t offer any reason for argument: “Canadians killed in friendly fire in Iraq”. The friends? Us. US. USA. I’m sorry Canada, with my most undignified annoying American way of saying it, I truly am sorry. If it’s of any consolation, I passed by the drowning stars and stripes too, taking only a picture for the viewer to decide on a caption.
Monday’s Labour Day Parade had the downtown Toronto streets filled for hours, with seemingly more participants than spectators. It was as if every Canadian citizen belonged to one union or another, and proudly marched, biked, drove, skated and danced their way through the streets waving their union flags and wearing their union t-shirts. It just went on and on, and I was beginning to suspect that the parade route formed a big circle and the same participants changed flags and t-shirts every time they passed City Hall. After a few hours and more than a few “North American” union teams paraded by, my husband made a curious observation, which I later confirmed when reviewing the pictures I took. Canadian flags mixed with Mexican flags, yet the American flag remained to be seen….not for the North American Steel Workers, nor the North American Welders Union…nor anything bearing the words “North American” in the title. Interesting.
So I return home and a week later my government is celebrating the anniversary of 9/11 with all kinds of fear-inducing hype and propaganda in the form of a mini-series. Don’t get me started. Hang on, who’s writing this anyway? I am. But my blog is not about political commentary, there’s plenty of that out here on the web. What I prefer to share is “the world through my eyes” – I’m an actor, writer and a photographer, and whether I’m clicking at the computer keys or with the camera shutter, it’s all my own expression. Ok, atleast I can express my views and post my images uncensored for the world to read and see, and for that right, I am grateful. So here’s to Labour Day in Toronto! I LOVE YOU CANADA!