National Treasure #1: Kent Avery

Here we are, having just completed our 149th year as a country as of yesterday, 30 June.  Today we embark on our sesquicentennial year, which we will celebrate on 01 July 2017, although there’s certainly an argument for celebrating a day earlier.  But birthday celebrations have an inertia, if not a logic, of their own, and this is how we do it.

So.  What can we say about 149?  It’s a prime number, as attested to by this site, named “Math is Fun.”

The lady doth protest too much, methinks. I mean, have you ever seen sites with these names:

  • Riding Rollercoasters is Fun
  • Eating Chocolate is Fun
  • Playing Outside is Fun

No.  You haven’t.

And 151 will also be a prime number (isn’t this fun?).  So, by my count, Canada will have three prime years in a row, allowing for different meanings of “prime.”

My Sesquicentennial Project

Today I’m launching my sesquicentennial project: at least one special post about Canada every week until 01 July 2017.   (My “stretch target,” as executives like to say, is 150 in total, but we’ll see how that goes.)

What kind of special posts?  As suits this site, a mix, a melange, a muddle mayhap.  Stay tuned.  But all my selections will be driven by one theme: Canada’s national treasures.

This is a concept I first became aware of with respect to Japan, which has several lists of national treasures in different categories.  Googling “What are national treasures?” turns up a first page with nary a Canadian reference (!), a long list of British and American references, and this definition:

na-tion-al trea-sure (noun): an artifact, institution, or public figure regarded as being emblematic of a nation’s cultural heritage or identity

Well, OK.  But as suits my identity, I’m going to interpret “national treasure” a little more broadly to include Canadian people, places or things that I think are worth celebrating.  Hey, it’s my project.  So here, in no implied order of precedence (A treasure is a treasure, says me: there are no degrees), is the first post.

National Treasure #1

Today, a guy whose name I didn’t know until today: Kent Avery.  I saw him balancing rocks in Stanley Park in 2006.

Kent Avery balancing rocks in Stanley Park
Rock balancer

 

And I saw the results of his work.

Beach rocks balanced in Stanley Park.
Rocks balanced.

 

And I took a lousy video that documented this completely improbable activity.  But there’s a much better video on YouTube.

So Happy Canada Day to Kent Avery – a Canadian national treasure – and to everyone who labours to create things of beauty and wonder, however transient.

 

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