Gordon Lightfoot: ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’

Our Canada weekend continues with Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’. I have a very clear memory of the time I first heard this song on the radio; at the time I was used to short lyrical songs, so a longer, narrative piece seemed a little unusual to me. Now that I sing traditional songs, I understand the form a lot better. I think this is a true Canadian classic – but then, so many of Lightfoot’s songs fit into that category!

Um – no – this is not ‘Canada’s 150th birthday’

canada_daycdI love Canada and enjoy Canada Day, but I don’t like calling this ‘Canada’s 150th birthday’. Many great Canadians were part of our story before Confederation in 1867 (off the top of my head I think of Jacques Cartier, Samuel de Champlain, Alexander Mackenzie, John Rowand, David Thompson…). And that isn’t even taking into account all the First Nations and Inuit who lived in this country for thousands of years before Europeans even set foot here. Aren’t they part of the Canadian story?

I’m not against celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation, but to call it ‘Canada’s 150th birthday’ really makes it all about politics, and I’m not comfortable with that.

Rant over. I will now go out and wear red, and listen to my favourite Canadian music all day long.