Today is Canada Day. It celebrates the anniversary of Canada being granted dominionship (we hope that is a word) within the British Empire on July 1, 1867. Called Dominion Day until 1982 when Canada earned full independence, it is essentially Canada's Independence Day. This year is its 150th, the sesquicentennial, if I have it right.
It is one of those subtle ironies of history that such great friends as Canadians and Americans celebrate their anniversaries so closely together. Particularly in border cities as here between Detroit and Windsor, where we are able to enjoy the relatively free interchange of people, ideas, and goods with our northern allies, we ought to be somewhat awestruck by the kinship between our nations. There are few nations who truly have the sort of bond which we have, and we in Michigan are able to partake of that friendship every day in almost every way.
Though technically a newer nation than the United States, Canada is in many ways older and more distinct, more nuanced than we are. It gives Canada a depth which the US lacks in certain areas, as it allows her a better connection to the Old World (such a quaint yet endearing term nowadays!) than ourselves while living fully in the New.
Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario, true sister cities bound by proximity and shared interests, keenly aware and appreciative of one another even though in separate countries, share many events during these days. There are of course the massive fireworks, while each city supports various other events: the Windsor Summer Days in Ontario and Detroit River Days. It is something of a shame that they are no longer called the International Freedom Festival, as they were until 2007. It seems to break the unity of the celebrations. Still, their common history marks the anniversaries of each nation's independence similarly and faithfully. The parties remind us of our bond.
We should count ourselves fortunate indeed to have such tremendous associates, such stouthearted and true friends so nearby. It gives us a perspective the rest of the United States may not have, and shows us profoundly what true friendship must mean.
Happy Canada Day, Canada!