A Canada Day pause

A Canada Day pause
 
In one month, it will be Canada Day – a day when we celebrate what we love about Canada, and when we take a moment to reflect on what is truly important to us as citizens. It’s a day when we blow off a little steam, wear our most joyful red and white outfits, meet with friends, go to the Hill, see the fireworks and then come home, happy that we live in a country that will have been called the greatest country on earth on this special day. 
 
At The Merry Dairy, we love Canada Day. There is nothing that makes us happier than to see people with their friends and loved ones come by, hang out, listen to music and enjoy some ice cream. We especially love how excited the kids get to enjoy a Canada Day ice cream treat.
 
But this year it feels different. This year, it is different. For many, it’s been different for a long time.
 
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission told us that countless children suffered and died in residential schools. The discovery this week of the remains of 215 children is almost too much to bear. Imagining the loss and the suffering of those children, and their families, and the others who are yet to be named and remembered is simply overwhelming. There is no way for us to separate the joy of one day, from the agony of another.
 
One way to start it is to take a pause to understand what happened in those schools, and what is still happening today in communities across the country.
 
In the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, there are 94 calls to Action. One of them is for a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. We hope someday this day is created.
 
On this Canada Day, Canada’s National Day, we’re going to take a pause and be closed. 
 
On Canada Day, we come together to celebrate Canada as one of the best and greatest countries on earth. But to truly be the best and greatest country means owning up to the brutal facts of our past and present. Each of us needs to do our own part to atone, reconcile, and live together as fellow human beings with the respect and dignity each of us deserves.
 
So if your little one asks you why the ice cream shop is closed on Canada Day, tell them because it’s for all the kids who never got to enjoy ice cream or any other treat on a beautiful sunny day, with their own families, in their own homes. And if they ask what they can do, maybe one thing is to draw or write a message of love and healing. And if they drop that message off at our shop on that day or any day, we’d love to share it with as many people as we can.
 
The Team at The Merry Dairy

30 Comments

Joanne

Amazing. Thank you for helping to shine light on this and setting a good example of how we all have a role to play.

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Tracey Latendresse

Thank you so much for what you will be doing this Canada Day. Such a terrible loss, for this Country. Thank you for setting a good example and I do hope that us Canadians can follow your example.

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Anonymous

A wonderful message & a powerful reminder that we all need to recognize and acknowledge this terrible tragedy. Thank you for taking this decision to bring a broader awareness to this tragedy.

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Anonymous2

A wonderful message & a powerful reminder that we all need to recognize and acknowledge this terrible tragedy. Thank you for taking this decision to bring a broader awareness to this tragedy.

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Anonymous

Your show of support and solidarity is much appreciated by this one ole survivor. Thank you.

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Shauna

Instead of closing on Canada Day, why not stay open and donate some or all of your sales that day to an organization that directly supports and empowers Indigenous people? Surely that would have a more positive and lasting impact.

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Marlene

Thank you for the question.  Raising money is a great idea, and we love raising money for causes in partnership with the community. But what happened and what was discovered last felt so much bigger, and we felt that closing on this day was what we should do.

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Delores

Such an emotional and powerful message …. Miigwetch for acknowledging those little ones who never made it back home to their families and to open the door to the awareness many Canadians need to hear

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Cathy

This should be a start of a movement! Wish every shop would be closed on Canada Day across the country and be in solidarity to show support for those beautiful little lost souls.

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Diane

Thank you for caring so much, and for taking a stand. I have often wondered, as we strolled the Hill on Canada Day, exactly what we were celebrating. So much so that I don’t go there any more. We are NOT the most wonderful country in the world, not by a long shot. I hope I live long enough to see at least some of our shameful, criminal acts forgiven.

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Ken

Maybe you should think of all the Canadians who have fought and died to make this great country what it is. To not celebrate Canada day demeans their memory and diminishes all the good things that many Canadians have done in the past.

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Marlene

Hello Ken

We believe that by doing this we can continue in the great things Canadians can do in the future, and to reflect on how and how we can do this. We love Canada Day. And remembering our military sacrifices is so much a part of who we are – from Remembrance Day to the military recognition our soldiers receive today for what they do in the service of Canada, many of whom are indigenous too. Our point is simply that these little children who were at these schools never got to know the Canada we love. All they knew was pain and sadness and our decision to take a pause reflects that fact.

Marlene Haley, owner

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Karla Skoutajan

We must remember the children and their families. And we all have a role in reconciliation and ensuring the TRC’s calls to action are implemented. Thank you for your thoughtful leadership.

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Anonymous

Again we focus on the worst of our history instead of the best of it. We will never move forward if we keep getting stuck on the past. How much “atonement” is necessary? What will it take before we are permitted to forgive ourselves for events that occurred before many of us were even born? Canada IS a great country and I am proud of our history in spite of our misdeeds.

This self-flagellating approach to reconciliation is demoralizing and makes one want to turn a deaf ear instead of lend a helping hand to improving conditions for indigenous people today.

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Marlene

I hope that’s not the case. Knowing so many children died, and so many more remains will eventually be found was for us a moment to take a pause. We do need to move forward. Understanding and acknowledging what happened is key to that. We love celebrating the best of our history. Given the enormity of this event, this year, we felt it was time to take a pause.

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Anonymous

Cindy — given the financial hardships many businesses, large and small, have faced over the past 15 months, it seems highly unlikely that even if they wanted to close on this day they wouldn’t be able to.
Canada, like every other country, has an oppressive, discriminatory and dark past and we need to acknowledge, educate, communicate and work together in an open-minded and respectful manner to ensure that these tragedies and atrocities are never forgotten. Lets move forward together to create a brighter, more just and equitable society for all people, especially those that have been/continue to be racialized and marginalized.
I’m still celebrating Canada Day (because there is much to be proud of) but I will be taking the time to reflect on how I can be a proactive part of the solution and changes needed going forward. Personally, I don’t think “cancelling” a national holiday is a step in the right direction but that’s my own two cents.

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Kit Andersson

I appreciate your decision and why you have made it. However, in this year when my children have been subjected to so much mental distress due to COVID, school interruptions, fear and uncertainty, I will not be burdening them with any details of this grim discovery. Children’s mental health is fragile and while adults can and should face up to these horrific events that happened before the Kamloops school closed in 1969, I think it would be harmful and wrong to include my children in this conversation.

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Marlene

Thank you Kit. I appreciate your point of view. It is an incredibly difficult subject at an incredibly difficult time. How and who we include in that conversation is a choice and whether or not we are closed, our history remains. What we don’t know yet is how many more children never came home. We know many are already learning about this event in schools. We wanted to provide a space where a message of love and healing could be sent. Kids are amazing and they have been through so much.

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Neil T

For anyone who will be out and about celebrating Canada Day and needs an ice cream fix, try Beachconers on Britannia Road, a pleasant destination if your family is out cycling on the SJAM. They have an incredible selection of Canada Day worthy ice creams. Happy Canada Day everyone!

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Marlene

Hi Neil T

Thank you for your comment. We love Beachconers too. Thank you for your kind suggestion to support a fellow ice cream makers and local business.

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Tara

Parliament just passed Bill C-5 approving Sept 30 as National Truth and Reconciliation Day and a federal statutory holiday. It may be helpful to link your closure on Canada Day, which celebrates so many different things for Canadians, to the importance of the later date being recognized as a provincial statutory holiday for broader reflection as well.

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Karen C

So poignant and well written. Kudos for taking a stand for those who cannot. Thank you!

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