Those darn crazy Canadians - Curt Yeomans

I never thought of Canadians as a group of people who were likely to get down and wild, but I will from now on.

I had the pleasure of being in Ottawa (Canada's capital city) on Canada Day (July 1), which is their version of the Fourth of July.

I have never, in my life — not even in this country — seen a group of people engage in such a huge display of national pride.

Think the Fourth of July meets Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

More than 300,000 people converged on Parliament Hill for concert performances several Canadian artists (not the big ones that anyone knows, like Shania Twain or Celine Dion, though).

Of course, Prince William and his wife, Catherine, were at the concert as well (I stood only 150 yards away from them), so that added to the frenzied atmosphere.

But, you had street vendors selling Canadian flag capes for people to wear. Several people wore red cowboy hats that had white maple leafs on the front. There were face-painters every half block.

On one street, there was a big street party, with people of all ages smoking bongs and dancing. The old man in his 70s dancing with a college co-ed was especially entertaining.

And, of course, there were lots of people yelling "HAPPY CANADA DAY!" in both English and French (Canada does have two official languages, after all).

The only disappointment was the fireworks show at the end of the concert. It was about 10 minutes long (if even that long) and left a lot to be desired. That is one area where Canadians need to cross the border –– and closely examine how we do patriotic fireworks shows.

One disappointed Canadian exclaimed, "They must have spent all of the budget on the entertainers at the concert, because the fireworks sucked!"

But, there was a general feeling of over-indulgent exuberance, and national pride. It was the kind of exuberance you would expect to find when you ramp up feelings of national pride with lots, and lots, and lots, of alcohol.

One drunken girl came up to me after the fireworks show, and asked, "Can I put a sticker on you?" before slapping a "CANADA" sticker on my chest, wishing me a "Happy Canada Day," and going on her way.

I almost think the Canadians could show us Americans a thing or two about putting on a big show of national pride — as long as you discount the fireworks fiasco.

We should never take lessons on fireworks from the Canadians, in my opinion.

Needless to say, I will never underestimate those darn, crazy Canadians –– ever again.

Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5.