Cana­dian ex­pe­ri­ence to the max

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - Cuts Like a Knife, a High­way, Life is Work­ing for the Week­end Pa­tio Lanterns. Could Cake by the Ocean. STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON

There was a mo­ment of extreme Cana­di­an­ism at the Ap­ple Hill Canada Day cel­e­bra­tion on June 30. I was sit­ting on the grass be­side the com­mu­nity cen­tre, eat­ing a bar­be­cued ham­burger and watching my six-year-old son amuse him­self in the swim­ming pool that had been set up by Ap­ple Hill’s fire­fight­ers. There was a DJ nearby and he was pump­ing out a steady stream of clas­sic Cana­dian rock. There was Sha­nia Twain, Bryan Adams singing

Tom Cochrane singing Lover­boy’s and Kim Mitchell singing there pos­si­bly be a more Cana­dian song than that?

Then ev­ery­thing came crash­ing down when the DJ played DNCE’s It was like an earth­quake hit, man. Up un­til that point, the day was all about pa­tri­o­tism and nos­tal­gia. I was groov­ing to Cana­dian mu­sic that had been made when I was ei­ther a teenager or young man. DNCE – an Amer­i­can band whose afore­men­tioned song won the Teen Choice Award for best party song of 2015 – snapped me out of me reverie. Now I felt old.

My kid, who loves wa­ter, con­tin­ued to have a grand old time in the fire­fight­ers’ pool. I do be­lieve he was in there for a com­bined to­tal of three hours. I have been tak­ing him on my Canada Day rounds since he was very young and, in ret­ro­spect, he al­ways has the best time in Ap­ple Hill.

Two re­turns

I was dou­bly pleased to see such a high turnout at Smith­field Park and Glen Wal­ter Re­gional Park for those com­mu­nity’s res­ur­rected Canada Day cel­e­bra­tions. I re­mem­ber go­ing to a Canada Day event in Glen Wal­ter a long time ago but I don’t think I had ever been to one at Smith­field. For more than a decade, Lan­caster’s de­fault Canada Day venue seemed to be Char­lot­ten­burgh Park. You’d never guess that if you went there though. It seemed that most of the cel­e­brants came from Corn­wall or Mon­treal or Ot­tawa and be­yond.

In any case, the Smith­field cel­e­bra­tion was wildly suc­cess­ful. Or­ga­niz­ers don’t have an official head tally but they es­ti­mate that any­where be­tween 800 and 1,000 peo­ple passed through the gates.

Glen Wal­ter, sim­i­larly, saw a bevy of peo­ple at the park. Plenty of them were from Corn­wall. They told me they chose to come to Glen Wal­ter for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons – fam­ily ties, a coun­try set­ting, to try some­thing new. Chris Bour­gon, one of five or­ga­niz­ers who got the Canada Day cel­e­bra­tion off the ground, says Glen Wal­ter ben­e­fited from some great deals and a gen­er­ous com­mu­nity. The group brought in $15,000 through do­na­tions and fundrais­ing and even man­aged to save about $3,000 when it scored a 55 per cent dis­count on fire­works. He says that Canada Day fin­ished at least $3,000 in the black and that the funds will ei­ther go to a cel­e­bra­tion for Canada Day in 2020 or a new play struc­ture for the Glen Wal­ter Park.

All in all, Glen­garry was a great place to spend Canada Day. There were also cel­e­bra­tions in Maxville, Glen Robert­son, and Alexan­dria. Here’s hop­ing that the var­i­ous or­ga­niz­ers can keep up this pace in the fu­ture.

A Mad farewell

Gen­er­a­tion X’ers like my­self may shed a tear over the an­nounce­ment that Mad Mag­a­zine – that one-time cham­pion of Amer­i­can satire – will, es­sen­tially, cease pub­li­ca­tion af­ter nearly 70 years.

There will be no more par­o­dies of pop­u­lar movies or tele­vi­sion shows, no more MAD fold-ins or Spy vs Spy or snappy answers to stupid ques­tions. MAD will con­tinue to re­pub­lish old ma­te­rial but that’s a lit­tle like say­ing they won’t be mak­ing any more episodes of Happy Days, but you can still catch the show in syn­di­ca­tion.

For those of us who fol­lowed MAD, the an­nounce­ment isn’t all that sur­pris­ing. Last year, the mag­a­zine at­tempted a reboot. It moved from New York City to Cal­i­for­nia, adopted an edgier logo, and hired its first fe­male art di­rec­tor. But the reboot of MAD was just as lame as its pre­de­ces­sor, which stopped be­ing funny af­ter its orig­i­nal pub­lisher, Wil­liam Gaines, died in 1992.

Maybe MAD, as a print mag­a­zine, has had its day. Its chief com­peti­tor, CRACKED, re­branded it­self as adult-ori­ented hu­mour and moved all of its ma­te­rial on­line. It’s do­ing well and it’s fun­nier than any­thing MAD has printed in years.

And maybe, just maybe, MAD never was as funny as I thought it was when I was an ado­les­cent. The jokes that used to make me scream laugh­ter might not even net a grin from 46year-old me. Per­haps that’s the big­gest tragedy of MAD. Kids to­day would rather get their laughs from more risqué fare like South Park and Fam­ily Guy, some­thing that Wil­liam M. Gaines would have found ap­palling.

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