When the U.S. talks independence, we say it in explosions. Heck, even our national anthem is mostly about things blowing up. In the days leading up to July 4, rule-abiding native Oregonians cross the river to obtain illegal airborne bombs that will be drunkenly detonated at late hours in residential neighborhoods.
As many Portlanders prepare for that jingoistic and unsustainable affair, our northern neighbors will be quietly holding a low-key celebration of their undying loyalty to the Crown we shunned so long ago. Yes, Canada has its own Fourth of July. Because of the metric system, Canada's July 4 is held on July 1.
It's nothing so boastful as an Independence Day. Canada Day, called "Dominion Day" until 1982, celebrates the merger of three British colonies into one British supercolony, the largest colony ever seen.
Perhaps Americans can learn something from our neighbors. We've compiled a list of traditions from the world's second-largest nation (by area). God save the queen and bless her benevolent rule over her loyal and peaceable Canadian subjects.
Drink a maple syrup toast to baby George, prince of Canada.
And to all future princes of Canada. That little baby and his future issue will rule the land.
Play all your Tragically Hip records back-to-back at a reasonable volume.
"Bobcaygeon"! "Blow at High Dough"! "Greasy Jungle"! There's a reason these gents have 14 Juno Awards.
Buy gas with Canadian Tire money.
Canada's alternate currency for everything from fine Canadian petroleum to men's casual wear to a high-quality griller-cooker. Seven hundred dollars in Canadian Tire money is a pretty good offer on a trailer. The money was first issued by the king of Canada, a kindly old Scottish man, in 1958, to reward his subjects for loyalty.
Fight for the Maple Crown.
Each Canada Day, all Canadian children between the ages of 6 and 12 are separated into French-speaking and English-speaking groups. After attaching pillows to their ears, they then take part in a round-robin fistfight tournament, with the winner receiving the "Maple Crown."
Put on the "ice pants."
As a way of celebrating Canadian hardiness in the face of extreme cold, Canadians place their next day's underwear in the freezer June 30. If anyone is caught forgetting, they are given the "ice wedgie," which is best left unexplained.
Visit the Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier…
…and keep in mind he's probably there because of American adventurism.
Watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
The epic tale of the Dominion and the Founders, who must constantly morph identities to protect themselves against the Imperialist Federation at their borders, has long been understood as a sympathetic allegory for Canada. Avert your eyes at significant moments.
Take part in re-enactments of the great battles of Canadian independence.
These are mostly bar fights in Saskatchewan. After seven Molsons, they all kind of blur together.
Eat the Canada Day meal.
Flipper pie! Made with fresh-clubbed seals!
Take part in the Running of the Seals.
Much like the Running of the Bulls festivities in Pamplona, Spain, except instead of running away from the seals, Canadians chase after them. With clubs.
GO: Canada's Fourth of July is held on July 1, because of the metric system. Also, to the best of our knowledge, none of these traditions are real.