The capital city, Ottawa, comes together for the festivities, everything from the Market to Rideau shut down. Everything is silent. Citizens stand shoulder to shoulder, holding makeshift weapons of sharpened icicles and lacrosse sticks.
The Queen of England, Elizabeth herself, stands on the steps of Parliament. The hockey teams stand at attention, her guards and escorts.
“CANADA DAY HAS BEGUN.” she screams in her shrilly 90-something year old voice through a loud-speaker.
“Let the games begin.” Harper says as he watches from the monitors of his cushy office, guarded by the hell dog Cerberus, smiling manically, obviously having been driven insane long ago. Some say it was performing The Beatles live. Others say Mulcair slipped him something during the festivities the previous year.
No matter what it was, the annual blood-bath begins. Unsurprisingly, it is Jean Chrétien who makes the first move by throwing a sharpened hockey stick into Paul Martin’s face.
I wake up early in the morning in the surprisingly warm comfort of my igloo. Crawling on all fours, I go to the kitchen and fry up some back bacon and pancakes for breakfast. My pet beaver gnaws on my vintage hockey stick, so I give him his own pancake. I sit down and pour my cup of maple syrup onto my hot pancakes before keeping the rest on the side, taking sips of it every so often.
After breakfast, I’m due at work. I throw on a tuque and strap into my snowshoes before making my walk out to the stables. Once inside, I take the snowshoes off and get on the back of my moose. We travel for miles in the snow, hoping to make it to my job before the daily storm overtakes us.
In the distance, an RCMP officer trudges towards us on her horse. Smiling, she stops next to me.
“Bonjour! It’s pretty nice oot today, eh?” she says.
“That it is,” I say. “We haven’t had a -10C day in a long time, eh?”
“Not since the Great Kayak Crash of ‘08,” says the RCMP officer.
“They were just too close to Alaska. May those poor hockey players rest in peace.”
“If only those toorists had sewn a flag to their backpacks. Then maybe they would’ve recognized they were surroonded by their own and cried oot for help.”
“I wonder if this means the second coming of Wayne Gretzky,” I say.
“I hope so.”
“It’s aboot time I continue to my job,” I say.
“Oh, I’m sorry for keeping you so long. Those Ootlaws aren’t going to catch themselves, eh?”
“I’m sorry for keeping you away from your job,” I say.
The RCMP officer rides off into the distance, tracks covered by the whipping wind. We speak like this nearly every single day. Same-sex marriage has been legal country-wide since 2005, so why aren’t we married yet?
As I continue, I stop at the local Tim Hortons™. I go inside for a moment to use the washroom, then get back on my moose and go to the drive-thru. Every day I order a double-double and pay with a loonie and a toonie. I pass about six other Tim Hortons on the same street as I head out to the lake.
Once I’m there, I go into the log cabin to sign in. Everyone inside is about as white as the snow we are constantly surrounded by. Some have Canadian flags sewn onto their backpacks. Useless, considering that we are already in Canada. What a bunch of hosers. After putting my skates on and polishing my hockey stick, I leave the cabin and take a step onto the ice.
The ice is so thick that it truly takes an industrial drill to crack the surface. Several children are playing hockey, a traditional Canadian ritual in which the winner is pegged the Hockey Lord and receives a hockey stick with the ability to fend off the vengeful ghost of John A. Macdonald, who is known for being the most worthless hockey player in the history of Canada. He was the first Prime Minister too, I guess. The children are wearing reinforced tuques, as helmets are only for the kings of hockey. I wave at the children and the children wave back. I ignore the seal hunters.
At last I reach my station: the fishing hole. I enter the tent and fish all day, catching my daily quota alongside my own meals. The only thing entertaining me the entire time is the workplace’s provided weed. When finished, I take my last puff and pack my fish into a huge net. I leave, wearing it on my back.
Several minutes later, an unusual incident happens. Something that isn’t another co-worker skids towards me, making a low growl.
A polar bear becomes visible. I figure it’s hungry and wants my fish. It lifts its paw to strike.
I turn and raise my hockey stick. The bear stops in its tracks and presses its body flat to the ice in complete deference. Nobody, not even the wildlife, dares to disrespect the sanction of hockey. The punishment for attacking a hockey player is granting the player a favour. The polar bear’s lucky that it didn’t kill me, or it would’ve been faced with the death penalty. In the end, I ride the polar bear back to the cabin. My moose is excited to see me and butts me with its antlers. The polar bear leaves, content with its favour completed.
After my shift, I head to the bar. On the way over, there’s a roadblock. Jean Chrétien stands in my way, and dashes towards me in an attempt to put me in a chokehold. My moose and I swiftly jump over him. No former Prime Minister, not even Pierre Elliot Trudeau, can stand in my way. Just watch me.
Finally I make it to the bar. The movie playing over the counter is Austin Powers and the live music is a Nickelback cover band. A hoser wearing a shirt with Michael Cera’s face on it mans the bar. I drink until I feel like my face is going to fall off, until the figure of Louis Riel is visible in the corner of my eye.
He shakes his head and says, “Get your half-Métis ass oot of here and join the rebellion.”
“But Loois, the revolution is over! You were hanged!”
“Merde!” he says as he gets up and goes to the washroom. My stoned and drunk hallucinations of people never made them as intelligent as they actually were. Well, aside from the time I imagined former American president George W. Bush.
Eventually I stumble out of the bar and to my moose. My RCMP officer friend and hopefully wife-to-be shows up in her Three Days Grace t-shirt and helps me make it home as usual. On the way she asks if I want to stop at Tim Hortons™ again, and today I tell her no.
They say home is where the heart is, but the girl of my dreams just ditches me after she drops me off at the stable and helps me into my snowshoes and walks me to my igloo. She says, “See you tomorrow!”, winks, and leaves me with my beaver and collection of Céline Dion CDs. My heart weeps as my hoser neighbour starts dramatically reading some Margaret Atwood novel out loud to her kids.
Time for a meal, I think as I crack open another beer. I won’t be able to finish my two-four, but at least I can devour an entire bowl of Kraft Dinner, which is what I make for dinner. I have several buckets of water that I use to cook and clean, though I have to heat it over a fire.
After that, I go for a bath in full clothes and wash all the beer and cheese off my shirt. I take off all my clothes and dry myself with a towel I bought at Zellers. Sadly, the store I bought it at turned into the Bay.
Finally, I brush my teeth with poutine-flavoured toothpaste and go to sleep. Tomorrow I have to travel to Halifax from my shitty hometown of Toronto (pronounced “Toronno”), which is half a day away on mooseback and three hours via ski-doo.
As I prepare for the night’s rest, the real ghost of Louis Riel appears and winks at me. I wink back, ready to spend another day in the land of Canada.
The street-corner public-access video booth, established in the late 1980s, has provided a platform for anyone with a loonie and 120 seconds to spare, from former prime minister Jean Chrétien to the Barenaked Ladies, to vent or praise or promote their issues – or themselves.