Money for nothing

The gravy train that is Canada’s 150th birthday has left the station and I’m afraid I’m not on it. Ottawa is providing $500 million to celebrate the country’s sesquicentennial through parties, events and other frippery. Among the winners announced is The Red Couch tour where a sofa is hauled across the country so people can sit and say what Canada means to them.

There will also be a mobile trio of 20-foot shipping containers to act as studios for local artists and videographers. And La Grande Traverse, a 10-part television series about ten people who cross the Atlantic in conditions similar to their forbears. In the hopes I can catch some of this manna from heaven, even though the application deadline has long since passed, here are three concepts that surely are equal to those already chosen.

First, I’ll go to my home town of Guelph, set up a pup tent in St. George’s Square, and recollect with appropriate Motown background music how the Treanon Restaurant looked 50 years ago when Canada was only 100. I will have displays of table top formica and a grill to create the smell of those fries that needed cherry Cokes to wash the grease off the top of your mouth.

Second, I could release helium balloons bearing the Canada wordmark from my front lawn every day until I have sent 33 million aloft, one for every Canadian. If I start tomorrow, that’s about 92,000 balloons a day for the rest of the year. Any delay in approving this idea might make the whole thing unworkable.

Third, I am available to write titles for books to be published in 2017. I’ve done this in the past for Joey Slinger and could work on something for his new novel, to be published by Dundurn during the year in question. Any kind of retroactive award payment would certainly be welcomed by the both of us.


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