LETTER FROM CANADA

Happy boring birthday, Canada

It turns out that drama and struggle are not essential to the good life.

(Source: SITA/AP)

July 1 was Canada Day. As national days go, Canada’s is low on pomp and historical drama, compared to America’s July 4 Independence Day, and lacking in moral heft, compared to November 17. There may be a few parades and fireworks, but mostly it’s a day when the entire country goes to either a cottage or a campground, lights a barbecue and drinks too much.

There’s more to it, obviously, but I’ve learned not to explain too much about Canada to foreigners. It’s just not racy enough. The country’s name comes from an Iroquois word,Kanata, meaning village, which one of the first European explorers misinterpreted to mean the whole of the landmass. It was founded in 1867 after that most Canadian of things, a series of conferences to discuss the merits of the project. Three provinces decided to dip their toes in the water and form a Dominion (a territory whose main business, including defense, foreign policy and justice, remained in British hands). The other seven provinces were added gradually over the next 80 years, in a sexy process that Wikipedia described as accretion.

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