Canada 150 has nothing on this.
Oddly enough, humans and the Forex currency markets have something in common. Both gravitate towards round numbers, especially those ending in zero. 30th 40th and 50th birthdays are considered landmark years to celebrate, just as a currency pair will float towards 1.30 or 1.40 if it can.
Nor surprising, there was much hype over the Canada 150 celebrations. For me it was just another Canada Day. Never mind the controversy over the date and how Canadian indigenous people felt slighted by it given their culture existed well in advance of Confederation. I’ve never been particularly Nationalistic. Perhaps it was growing up in both Europe and Canada, or travelling the world at a young age. Every country has pros and cons. Partying for the sake of the country I lived in was never part of my MO.
Despite my neutrality in flying the Canadiana pride flag, I admit there was one time where I felt the surge of Nationalist pride in a way I’ll never feel again.
The 2010 Olympics
In 2010 Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics, the first time for our coastal city and despite the lack of snow, it was a party to remember. Initially, my partner and I were like hundreds of others: we debated renting out our home and getting out of dodge for the event. I’m so glad we didn’t.
If anything, I understand why they cap any Olympics at just over two weeks. Anything beyond that and the Olympic city would be partied out to the point of exhaustion. Every night of the Games there were multiple events going on in the city and Whistler; revellers in the street; music pouring out every nook and cranny, smiles on every face.
The event kicked off with a gold medal in men’s freestyle skiing and the accolades kept on coming. Visitors and athletes gushed about our city. With parking restrictions on most major streets, getting around the city was a dream. And, as the inevitable day grew closer, the anticipation skyrocketed.
The Men’s Final Hockey game.
This event was the marquee attraction, falling on the final Sunday of the games. When it was determined the US would be our final opponent, North American bookies – hell even Obama and Harper – started their betting. The US and Canada are long time rivals in hockey, despite the irony that most of the guys on Team Canada play for American teams. (We overlooked that.)
To say there was pride on the line is a massive understatement. To be Canadian is to be a hockey fan. And for a Canadian city to host a dream final was insanity. Tickets were rumoured to be selling for $25,000 each. Several fans had been robbed at gunpoint with ticket scams originating on Craigslist. The momentum building into the event was crackling.
This was gonna be epic.
And it was.
How it went down
The day of the game was a beautiful, warm February Sunday. Vancouver, and all of Canada, had effectively shut down by the time the puck dropped.
A tight, crafty game, Canada had all but won it, when Zach Parise, scored a USA tying goal with 24.4 seconds left in the third period. It was a moment in time where you could literally feel the entire country come to a standstill.
In fact, during the intermission, my partner and I were so anxiety ridden, after a quick, desperation-fuelled shag against the wall, he started to vacuum the downstairs and I Swiffer-ed the upstairs. Anything to get rid of the awful, nervous energy.
When intermission ended, we could hardly sit on the couch.
As the fairytale goes, Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal in overtime and this is where the over whelming surge of Nationalism gripped not only me, but the entire city.
We flooded downtown where the major streets of Robson and Georgia and Granville were at a standstill. Filled with mobs of people screaming, high-fiving each other, cars passed by on outer streets, honking horns. Canadian flags were everywhere, some people naked underneath them. It was an incredible moment in time and like nothing I have ever experienced.
The following morning, the Games over, the city was quiet. It was like a malaise hung over Vancouver, when in fact, it was every citizen hungover and partied out to the point of passing out. Companies remained closed, only the most basic services were functioning it seemed.
For weeks after it was all anyone could talk about. It still gives me goosebumps thinking or reading about it.
So hip hip hooray to Canada 150, but when it comes to feeling Canadiana pride, nothing will ever top the Men’s Final at Vancouver 2010.