Canadian experience to the max
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.
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.