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Dana Asher stands with the Canadian flag
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06/27/01 - National Post

'I really feel this would be a good way to celebrate' Canada Day


By Mark Hume

VANCOUVER - The way Dana Asher describes it, Canada Day this year could be sort of like the scene in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, in which the villagers find their trees stripped of presents – but instead of bemoaning their bad luck, they break into spontaneous, joyous song.

On July 1, at noon Pacific time, Ms. Asher will stand on Vancouver Island's Long Beach, and do her best to get campers to loin her in a full blown chorus of O Canada.

Her voice alone will be hard to hear above the pounding surf – but if she's joined by a few hundred campers on the beach, if the park ranger joins in, and the tugboat captain at the dock in Tofino, and the truck driver...

"Imagine if you had the whole country singing O Canada at the same time," said Ms. Asher. "Just think about this for a second... 30 million people singing the same song at the same time in honour of our country. It would be amazing."

The Simon Fraser University student came up with the idea a few weeks ago when she was thinking about the upcoming July 1 holiday.

She was listening to a talk-radio show, where all the callers were complaining about the Canadian government and talking in negative terms about the country.

"They were talking like we live in a dictatorship, or something. That's just so wrong – we live in a great country. But it's like people don't want to recognize that for some reason."

Why is it, she wondered, that Canada Day is such a non-event, while in the United States, July 4 is a huge, nation wide tailgate party?

"In Canada, people think that Canada Day is just another day off. A paid holiday. But in the U.S., it's a huge party. Canadians go down there for the July 4th holiday because they know it's going to be so much fun. Well, I was just feeling sort of frustrated about it. And I had this idea. Why not get everybody to sing O Canada at the same time?"

Ms. Asher, 23, an education major, figured noon on the West Coast would work, because everybody should be up then, from St. John's to Tuktoyaktuk, in the Northwest Territories and to Tofino, near Long Beach.

"We line in such a great country... I really feel this would be a good way to celebrate."

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