June 30, 2006

Stars and bars

Warning: this isn’t much about piping.

The World Cup is all the rage around Toronto. Since Canada’s not in it, and since the country comprises about one-third first-generation immigrants, every other car seems to have a flag mounted to its side. These flags are being sold all around the city. With every result there are spontaneous celebrations down the streets, cars honking, fans cheering, traffic stopping and no one, not even people from the losing side, getting too bothered by it.

Biking along College and Bloor streets I go through Korean, Portugese, Brazillian, Jamaican, Italian, Polish, Czech, Ukraine and Russian areas, each maybe four or five blocks long. It’s a daily dose of world culture. Immigrants to Canada are intensely proud of their new Canadian home, but they keep and show their strong connection to their homeland. It’s part of Canadian culture (at least in Toronto), and maybe also explains the popularity of things-Scottish across the country. One’s no less Canadian being proud of your country of birth.

Apparently there are more than 80,000 US-citizens living in the city of Toronto. Being one of them, I was keen to find an American flag to fly on our car (have one of those, too), but despite trying numerous vendors there was not a single one to be found. In fact, I don’t recall even seeing an American flag on any car at any time over the last two weeks.

I’m not sure why that is. Americans are famous for displaying their patriotism on their sleeves, their lapels, their heart and even tattooed on their skin. It didn’t make sense to me that the tens-of-thousands of US citizens wouldn’t want to fly Old Glory while the US team was still in the World Cup.

Nevermind. Tomorrow we’ll fly our Canadian flag, and on Tuesday we’ll fly our American flag, and on St. Andrew’s Day the Saltire will go up. Maybe we’ll put out the St. George’s Cross if/when England wins it all!





Forgotten Password?