Monday, June 30, 2008

Some Canada Day tips

Canada Day used to be the best day of the year because it was guaranteed you could pick up and meet someone wonderful for a one-night stand. These days, that is no longer my M.O., but it remains the greatest day of the year. And it's still basically a series of one-night stands, just of a different nature. You meet dozens, sometimes hundreds, of people that you will likely never see again. And if you DO see them, you may not remember. But for the hour or so that you hang out on Canada Day, you are best friends. And if you could go through every day of life like this, you would be friends with everyone in Ottawa while not having to call people ever. It's like facebook, only with actual human contact. With that in mind, here are a few pointers for Canada Day enthusiasts like myself, bearing in mind I have spent about twelve years of my life refining this to an exact science.

First, always keep moving. Perpetual motion is key here, because if you sit down for even a half hour there is a danger that you might not get up. And although the guys you're sitting with, sharing pints, are probably great (everyone is great on Canada Day), there are more great people you need to meet further down your route, so keep moving.

Don't get sucked into a discussion about Canada itself. Although Canada Day is of course a celebration of patriotism and heritage, it isn't like the Super Bowl. At the Super Bowl, it is perfectly acceptable to analyze the play, to become obsessed over minutiae. Canada Day, however, is not the time or the place or the forum for one of those interminable and painful discussions about "did you know Jim Carrey is a Canadian? And Mike Myers too?" This is a conversation killer on July 1st, the same way religious talk is a conversation killer at Christmas. Christmas is about Christ in the same way Canada Day is about Canada - incidentally.

Don't talk about yourself, if you can help it. Talk to everyone you meet about them. In one day, moving through the crowds toward Parliament Hill, you can learn more about this country and it's residents than you would in a year of reading Farley Mowat books. You won't even know when this knowledge will come in handy until all of a sudden something comes up in conversation, and you say - "wait! I remember meeting a guy who does HVAC repair, and HE said..." If you're really irritating, you can become Cliff Clavin in one day. I don't recommend that either.

Avoid the music and the fireworks. Mostly because we've all seen Blue Rodeo one million times, and fireworks one million times, and it's no longer a source of awe like it was when I was four years old. Now, it's a momentum-killer. You must keep moving at all times, and unless you've met a girl who wants you to hold her while the fireworks are exploding, you must keep moving. In fact, even then, you should probably keep moving. That girl will kill your momentum worse than any flashing lights might.

Also, the main reason to avoid the fireworks is that the bars, to a small degree, empty out when they begin. That's your opportunity to sneak in and grab a table or a bar stool and have another pint as you continue on your way. Here is another tip - never, ever pay money to get into a bar on Canada Day. Bars figure they can gouge people this way because regardless of the cover charge, they will be jammed full. This is garbage. They are making so much off beer sales already that gouging a little extra out of you isn't worth your time. Also, you should never stay in any one bar for more than 20 minutes anyway. And who's going to pay a 10 dollar cover for 20 minutes of conversation? Keep moving. Also stay away from bars that make you take off your hat. That isn't Canadian spirit. Keep moving.

Even if you can't get into a bar, there is enough entertainment on the streets to warrant this continuous motion. Soon, you will be swept up by a crowd of people, with whom you will become instant friends, and get whisked into one establishment or another, whether you plan it or not. Therefore, most of the good action happens between bars and pubs. (By the way guys - for those of you looking for a night like this on a regular basis - try out Elgin Street on Fridays and Saturdays at night - bachelorette parties going from bar to bar will sweep you up as they pass, and that is a good thing.)

So that's about it. A series of "one-night-stands" with new groups of friends and great new people you would never have met otherwise. I am no longer into Canada Day to pick up, now that I'm all mature with a wife and stuff. But I'm still all about the party, the one-time acquaintances, and the perpetual motion of Canada in Ottawa on the 1st.


  1. Okay, I read your idea of fun. Now where's our 2,000 point Bonus Code

  2. great job with the Canada Day morning playlist, but did you forget the B&W bonus code again? And, BTW, are you married or do you have a g/f? multiple partners?

  3. hi lefty! yeah we've been ripped!!

  4. Hey Lefty,GET A LIFE !
    Its CANADA DAY !
    Enjoy & Forget the Codes & The Bull S#@t for a day Huh ?
    They'll make it up to ya ,you Greedy jerk !
    Stop causing trouble & say or do something constructive !

  5. No...I probably won't make it up to you.