Vincent Cheung

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

A part of our heritage

Canadians are proud of our country. We are proud of our accomplishments and contributions to the world. We will take great pride in any small feat. Perhaps it's a bit of an inferiority complex as well. We are not however, blindly patriotic, and will freely denounce our own country, but we still take pride in our country. We laugh at our pathetic military, but we never forget that in our only war with the US (the war of 1812), we kicked their ass and burnt down the White House!

In an another example, I laugh hysterically at the joke below and often make fun of Winnipeg, but will proudly tell you that famous Winnipeggers include Terry Fox, Cindy Klassen, The Guess Who, Neil Young, Chantal Kreviazuk, Fred Penner, Anna Paquin, and Winnie-the-Pooh.

I heard this on the radio the other day (comparing American and Canadian versions of things):

American version: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Canadian version: What happens in Winnipeg... let me say it again. What happens in Winnipeg?

I found these Canadian Heritage videos online (click on the categories on the left). They are short videos that were (are?) played during commercial breaks depicting an important moment in Canada's history. They used to be on all the time and got drilled into our minds as kids. They're fun to watch (having not seen them for years, but still remember them) and they do give me a sense of pride, so I guess the videos did accomplish what they were supposed to do.

These are the videos I remember the most:
  • Superman
    • "No one's going to read a comic strip about a strong man in tights"

  • Laura Secord
    • Warning the Canadian and British forces of the American attack

  • Nellie McClung
    • "Nice women don't want the vote"

  • Underground Railroad
    • "Paul ain't gonna make it!"

  • Orphans
    • "We have to keep our Irish name!"

  • Les Voltigeurs de Qu├ębec
    • O Canada!

  • Sir Sandford Fleming
    • My ECE department is named after him, the inventor of time zones

  • John McCrae
    • In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
      That mark our place; and in the sky
      The larks, still bravely singing, fly
      Scarce heard amid the guns below.
      We are the Dead.
      Short days ago
      We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
      Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
      In Flanders fields.
      Take up our quarrel with the foe
      To you from failing hands we throw
      The torch, be yours to hold it high
      If ye break faith with us who die.

      We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
      In Flanders fields.

  • Basketball
    • "It sure slows things down having to climb up here every time"

  • Winnie
    • Why Winnie, sir?
      For my hometown, Winnipeg

Log Driver's Waltz

For he goes birling down a-down the white water
That's where the log driver learns to step lightly
It's birling down, a-down white water
A log driver's waltz pleases girls completely.

Everyone that grew up in Canada in the 80's will remember that video above. For some reason, it was on TV all the time. They aired it in seemingly every commercial break. The tune is pretty catchy and the cartoon is pretty funny. Whatever message they were trying to send got ingrained into my subconsciousness after watching it like a billion times. I'm not the only one either. Everyone I show this to remembers the video to the point of remembering most of the words.

It was one of the "Canada Vignettes" produced by the National Film Board of Canada to portray a cultural depiction of Canada. Personally, I think it was funded by the log driver's association to convince girls to marry log drivers and for boys to become log drivers b/c they are the only people that can please a girl completely. Another memorable vignette was one showing faces morphing into other faces, showing the cultural and ethnic diversity of Canada. All the vignettes used to be online, but they have since been taken down. I figure the videos should be free b/c Canada should want people to watch them.


JL said...

You forgot Jacques Cartier, The one where Canada == the Village

Vince said...

I didn't post it b/c I didn't remember seeing that one on TV. There would have been regional disparity in what they aired. Or maybe I just didn't remember it.

Unknown said...

I remember the CA-NA-DA one, you probably saw it. I loved the log driver vignette and yes, I could sing most of it. Actually, you can watch it for free on MTS TV! (Take that, Shaw suckers!) I remember it coming on just before an episode of Robotman. I also remember the morphing faces. I remember the part where the faces argue and they looked scary, and then they made up and kissed, and that was icky. Yeah, what has the film board done for us lately huh?

Rach said...

*sigh* Thanks for helping me revisit some old memories, and encouraging me to explore the collective consciousness of some of my friends. I enjoy your writings...I'm really curious to know when the log driver song will stop repeating itself in my head.

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