National Treasures: A Recap

It’s the 150th anniversary of con-fed-er-eh-tion, everybody sing together . . .
– with apologies to Bobby Gimby

It’s also the first day since the 149th anniversary that I haven’t owed these pages any national treasures. As with any project, there is a strange mix of emotions upon completion: relief, satisfaction, incredulity, and what-the-heck-do-I-do-now-ness?

Before looking ahead, though, I thought I’d look back at the 150 national treasures that made the short list. Looking just at the people category . . .

  • Singers, musicians
  • Artists, videographers
  • Writers, storytellers
  • Soldiers, diplomats
  • Business people, innovators
  • Explorers, pilots
  • Inventors, scientists
  • Athletes, educators
  • Physicians, researchers
  • Actors, comedians
  • Judges, commentators
  • And one each astronaut, chocolate-making couple, fictional character, politician, and queen

. . . anyway, as I say, all this diversity put me in mind of another song.

We got cowboys, we got truckers
Broken-hearted fools and suckers
And we got hustlers, we got fighters
Early birds and all-nighters
And the veterans talk about their battle scars

Hmm, hmm, hmm I love this bar

Toby Keith

Of course Toby sings only about people, not all the places and things that also make Canada worth celebrating. Even so, he’s bang on with the chorus.

I love this bar
It’s my kind of place
Just walkin’ through the front door
Puts a big smile on my face
It ain’t too far, come as you are
Hmm, hmm, hmm I love this bar.

I love this country: It’s my kind of place. It ain’t perfect — What country is? — but at least we can come as we are.

And as an indigenous person, immigrant, or descendant of immigrants, we can enjoy the national treasures as well as aspire to being one ourselves.


Although this series of 150 national treasures was undoubtedly one of the more ambitious sesquicentennial projects, a few other folks had good ideas, too:

150 tree-planting projects

Digital campfire

Art tree project

Community projects

Pan-Canadian projects

And that’s not even trying to identify all the projects like the Vancouver Sun’s write-ups on 150 British Columbians.

One group is even looking ahead 150 years to 2167. I think I’ll pass on that . . .


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2 Responses to National Treasures: A Recap

  1. I’m collecting people’s ideas of the 150 objects that represent Canada. I bought the Walrus special edition re this list, but THEY include non-objects. So far, some of the best I’ve been given have been “pale dog shit in spring” and “castor gateaux” (beavertail) & “graphical toilet gender signs” …

    I like lists. In January I started a Pitch Journal: all the things I throw away (love it? need it? no? pitch it). I’m writing something about each thing. With lots and lots of photos. There will be no book, just pdfs, a couple of pages at a time, sent by email on request…

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – I like lists too, but it sounds like I should make a list of all of your lists . . . Good fun.

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