Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lazy Sunday #150: Christmas in Canada

steve christmas

With less than a week until Christmas, I thought I'd give Legion visitors from around the world a taste of what it's like to celebrate Christmas in Canada.

In most ways, we do it the same as everybody else. But because we're where you'll find Santa's North Pole, shimmering lights in the night sky, snow, ice and let's not forget the Polar Bears on all those seasonal Cola bottles, we're pretty much the place Christmas calls home, so we've perfected it.

For example, the guy above is our Prime Minister cutting loose at his office Christmas party.

He normally comes across all boring, helping to make us appear respectable on the international scene. But like most "quiet and polite" Canadians, he's got another side. And it would appear, the mystery of who's buying all those Nickleback albums that none of us will admit to owning has finally been solved.

Every big American city has a Santa Claus Parade to kick off the season and most of ours do too. Victoria, BC on our West coast, however, also holds something called the "Truck Light Parade" where big rigs covered in Christmas lights wend their way through well kept neighborhoods collecting food and toys for the needy.

It's the kind of spectacle that does my shit-kicker heart proud. My favorite's the Septic truck that turns its suction hose into a giant Candy Cane.

A little further East, the Calgary Hitmen hockey team hosts "The Teddy Bear Toss". This is an annual event in every Canadian hockey arena as fans mark the first home team goal by tossing stuffed toys on the ice to be distributed to sick or needy children.

This year the Hitmen collected 23,000 bears. We've featured the Toss at the Legion before. But it's always a fun way to experience the true reason for the season.

Down in the Southernmost tip of the country, in Welland, Ontario, they proved we can flash mob with the best. And don't skip past because you think you're an Internet hipster and have seen it all, because this version will take your breath away.

23 Million Youtube hits in less than a month too. Who says we need government handouts to establish a Canadian presence on the Net.

Moving further East and a little farther North, we come to Quebec City and the heart of our Winter. This was one of the places where Christmas was first celebrated in the "New World" and much of it probably doesn't look or feel much different than it did way back then.

Down on our Eastern Coast, there's another kind of Christmas parade in Wood's Harbour, Nova Scotia. Here it's fishing boats that are decorated and paraded along the shoreline, their way lit by fireworks.

There you have it. A little taste of the ways we do Christmas. There are a million more like moments from a million other places in between, all reflecting the spirit of giving, providing warmth in a cold world and bringing light to the darkness that Christmas and Canada symbolize to so many.

And you get a flavor of those traits in Canadian Jazz Great Oscar Peterson's version of the classic carol "O Christmas Tree". May his talent warm and brighten your own Christmas as much as he did so many of ours.

Thanks for visiting and -- Enjoy Your Sunday.

1 comment:

Rusty James said...

Merry Christmas Jim!

My favourite Christmas was spent with family, filling my belly before being shuttled off to my friend's house by my mom 'round 10:30 at night whereupon we huddled around a propane bottle and blue flame doing hot knives till dawn!

Timmins Ontario - I miss ya!