As we get ready to wave the flag and celebrate our love for this fair land let's look at some songs that tell part of the story of what it means to be Canadian. I am going to start with two Canadian icons, Ian and Sylvia. A rodeo rider in his youth, he took up music while recovering from an injury he sustained in a fall. He would go on to become part of the folk scene in Toronto and later New York. With this song he wrote a classic that sounds as old as time but was written in 1963. It has everything from: living in the cold, working hard and finding some hope along with the hard times.
"If I get there before the snow flies
And the things are going good
You could meet me if I send you down the fare
But by then it would be winter
There ain't too much for you to do
And those winds sure can blow cold way out there"
here is "Log Driver's Waltz" written by Wade Hemsworth and performed here by Kate and Anna McGarrigle. Hemsworth studied painting at the Ontario College of Art. And served with the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War Two. While Stationed in Newfoundland he discovered traditional music. After the war he worked as a surveyor in the wilderness of Labrador, Northern Ontario and Quebec. In the 50's he moved to Montreal and worked as a draftsman for the CNR. He would write and record some quintessential Canadian folk tunes including the "Black Fly Song" and this one. Here it is animated by the NFB.
here is "Acadian Driftwood" by the Band. This group of Canadians and one American (Levon Helm) are noted for being at the forefront of writing the myth of the South and Americana in general. Tucked in with those themes there is this ode to the Acadians who were kicked off their land.
"fifteen under zero when the day became a threat
My clothes were wet and I was drenched to the bone
Been out ice fishing, too much repetition
Make a man wanna leave the only home he's known"
now being Canadian isn't all sad, lonely and cold is it? when we are not burning cars after losing the hockey game. there are a few of us who can kick back, crack open a smile and an adult beverage and say. I am Canadian, happy and proud. Jack Scott was born in Windsor and put out some great hits in the late 50's and early 60's. No woe is me here.
"The way I walk is just the way I walk
The way I talk is just the way I talk
The way I smile is just the way I smile
Touch me baby, and I'll go home wild!"
What songs say "Canada" to you?