Monday, May 24, 2010

What's The Occasion? Victoria Day

Designed to honour the Dominion of Canada's first and most important sovereign, Queen Victoria - whose choice of Ottawa as the nation's capital was pointedly designed to unite the Two Solitudes of English and French (mainly by granting them a common enemy), and who gave her name to one provincial capital and her title (in Latin) to another - over the years this most royal of Canada's national holidays has grown to serve other purposes as well...

PhotobucketFirstly, it gives Canadians a break from whatever lovely spring weather they might have been enjoying by providing an invariably overcast and frequently rainy day at a time of the year otherwise plagued by warm temperatures and sunshine*; secondly, Victoria Day has given successive generations of Canadians a break from having to get drunk in the city by affording them a three-day weekend with which to go and get drunk in the country, christening many a cottage and cabin and campground for the upcoming season with countless puddles of celebratory piss and sick in the process. Plus, sometimes there's even fireworks! To me, nothing says Victoria Day like the smell of burning flesh and whimsical disfigurement caused by drunken frat boys fucking around with gunpowder cunningly packaged to look like candy.

Why not celebrate Victoria Day yourself by watching Victoria & Albert, the 2001 A&E miniseries about the marriage that shaped an Empire which stars Victoria Hamilton as Her Majesty? Or maybe you'd prefer Dame Judi Dench's volcanic performance in the 1997 film Mrs Brown (which I still haven't replaced after junkies broke into my apartment and swiped it in June 2004, but which I may be about to, since I haven't seen it in several years now).

You can even go old school and buy a book, such as Jean Plaidy's biography, entitled Victoria Victorious: The Story of Queen Victoria, which I bought to go with Carrolly Erickson's Her Little Majesty - which I found satisfying, not least of all for its myth-busting qualities; the point is, when it comes to Queen Victoria-related media, the possibilities are far greater than the money most of us have to indulge whatever consumerist whim might overtake you come pay day.

Happy Victoria Day, eh?
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