A woman touched my arm to ask me about the potato chips I was eating. "Where did you get those?" she asked in eager covetousness. I was sharing a bag of exotic dill pickle-flavored chips with cwjat, newly purchased from the Canada Shop set up in Trafalgar Square. The shop also sold A&W root beer and Hersheys chocolate, among a motley assortment of other junk food. Enormous red balloons floated above white tents, the spheres emblazoned with a map of the country.* From 5 pm onward, a stream of Canadian musicians performed on the large stage advertising the government of Canada, the Mayor of London, Petro-Canada, Blackberry. I'd even heard of two of the performers: Ron Sexsmith, and also Alana Levandoski, who performed with Dar Williams last year when on tour in London. On screen, a parade of Canadian musicians, including Jeff Healy and The Tragically Hip, none of whom were present professed their regret as absence. Loud cheers went up from different parts of the audience whenever a particular province or hockey team were mentioned in passing.
We've already celebrated it now,** but it's not even begun across the Atlantic in the country itself. Happy Canada Day!
* Photos forthcoming when my computer isn't constantly crashing. ** We spectulated that it's not being observed tomorrow here because of the UK England-Portugal World Cup Game.