UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Three ways to celebrate Canada with gusto

A guitar, a quilt and a peace centre hold together our stories

By Carolyn Pogue

I am writing a book about a rock. Beats me how this happened — geology isn’t my forté. But my research into the Acasta River gneiss in the Northwest Territories, the oldest rock on the planet, has given me one surprise after another. This one fits with Canada Day.

I learned about a guitar called Voyageur made from different Canadian woods and from more than 60 Canadian artifacts. Out of concern that Quebec and Canada would separate, writer Jowi Taylor asked luthier George Rizsanyi to make a guitar. Taylor believed that if we had a guitar that travelled the country making music and telling stories we’d have a better chance of sticking together. Voyageur made its debut in Ottawa on Canada Day in 2006 and it has been travelling across the country ever since.

On that guitar you’ll find Sudbury (Ont.) nickel, a slice of the Golden Spruce from Haida Gwaii, B.C. and a piece of an original seat from Toronto’s Massey Hall. There is mammoth ivory, a bit of Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s Stanley Cup ring and more. And, there’s a piece of Acasta gneiss outcrop. It’s over four billion years old. Makes you want to sing “O Canada” a bit louder, doesn’t it?

Also, artist Esther Bryan from Williamstown, Ont. has created another icon for Canadians. The Quilt of Belonging is a collaborative work by Canadians celebrating diversity. Like the guitar, it moves around. It’s been viewed by more than a million.

When Bryan thought about her family history — as many people do — she wondered about others. Everyone has family stories that, brought together, make us Canada. She wondered what Canada would look like in fabric. In April 2005, six years after the first stitch, she knew. Quilters from the three ocean shores surrounding Canada and everywhere in between sent their pieces to her, made with everything from sealskin to African mud cloth. That year the quilt was displayed at the Museum of Civilization. 

And, if you’re in the Maritimes this summer, you could visit the Community Peace Centre in Moncton, N.B. You’ll feel fantastic seeing what Rev. Dr. Jim MacDonald and a team at Central United Church dreamed into reality. I wish I’d been at their grand opening last week. The Centre brings together non-profits, government agencies, seniors, peace groups and environmental groups. We talk about transformation inside our churches; here it is.

Sure, I know we live in a country that just passed the “ominous omnibus bill” C-38, but cheer up. Take this trinity of creative Canadians into your heart when you celebrate July 1. Look for surprises. You might just find one, even under a rock. Happy birthday, us!


Author's photo
Carolyn Pogue is a longtime Observer contributor. New posts of The Pogue Blog will appear on the first and third Thursday of the month. For more information on Carolyn Pogue, visit www.carolynpogue.ca..
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Interviews

Courtesy of Pixabay

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Promotional Image

Editorials

Jocelyn Bell%

Observations: It’s a long road toward full equality for women

by Jocelyn Bell

'It’s a wonder that we continue to see male ministers as normative and attach shame to female ministers’ biology and sexuality.'

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

United Church music director Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Today, the 28-year-old showcases her unique musical ability, performing piano on local and national stages.

Promotional Image

Faith

May 2018

Toronto church builds interfaith friendship

by Vivien Fellegi

Faith

May 2018

This parent found no support for her autistic daughter — and decided to change that

by Kieran Delamont

Suzanne Allen talks about raising a daughter on the autism spectrum and bringing all autistic girls together

Faith

May 2018

Church retreat helps first responders with PTSD

by Joe Martelle

Interviews

May 2018

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Ethics

May 2018

Pregnant in the pulpit

by Trisha Elliott

Ministers who take a maternity leave still face discrimination in their own congregations

Interviews

May 2018

The two words Rev. Cheri DiNovo wants to hear from the United Church

by Alex Mlynek

The Toronto minister talks about her disappointment over the church’s silence when she officiated the country’s first legalized same-sex marriage 17 years ago – and why she wants an apology.

Promotional Image