Firmly stood, nobly died
In an otherwise excellent vignette of one of Canada’s seminal moments (“That Time We Beat the Americans,” March), Stephen Marche takes great pains to clarify whether Laura Secord led a cow through the woods, but neglects to devote a single keyboard click to the Quebec theatre of the war. Two of my ancestors repelled the American expansionists at the battles of Châteauguay and Lacolle Mill. Had they lost, Americans would have captured Montreal and helped divide the two Canadas, with potentially disastrous consequences for a country in its early stages of identity formation.
As a national magazine, The Walrus would be well advised to abandon its Canuckle-headed, Toronto-centric approach to an event that should celebrate the critical role played by Lieutenant-Colonel de Salaberry and his all-Canadian Voltigeurs, militia, and Mohawk allies as much as it does the exploits of Brock, Pierpoint, and Secord (with or without cow).
Peter Andre Globensky
Thunder Bay, ON
Oh, bless your heart, Mr. Marche. Have you ever been to Kentucky? I assure you, the majority of us from the Commonwealth of Kentucky fit in quite nicely in New York and Toronto.
Stephen Marche’s essay failed to mention the Royal Newfoundland Regiment’s role during the War of 1812. Because of their extensive experience as soldiers and sailors, they fought on both land and water. Although hundreds from the regiment died defending Canada, most people know little about their contributions.
Deer Lake, NL
It’s true that Toronto has not been kind to Fort York, especially to the surrounding landscape where the battle of York was fought in 1813. We are lucky, however, and unique in North America, to have a large set of buildings dating from the War of 1812, as well as earthworks and archaeological remains, all within the seventeen-hectare Fort York National Historic Site. The Fort York Foundation is raising funds to help the City of Toronto revitalize the site—the city’s birthplace—and to open the Fort York Visitor Centre, coinciding with the war’s bicentennial.
Andrew M. Stewart
Board of Directors (chair), Fort York Foundation
This article makes me think of other American-sponsored wars that have ended in stalemate—notably Vietnam and Iraq.
As I caught the last strains of Tchaik’s 1812 on bbc3 earlier today I thought of exactly this. Esp the last sentence.
His Excellency Madiba
I enjoyed reading John Schram’s diplomatic logs “When the World Was Watching” (March). It is often hard to explain the mood and events in South Africa during those years, but he captured them beautifully and evoked some great memories. The day Nelson Mandela was released from prison and when he became the first legitimate South African head of state are unforgettable historic moments.
But I want to express my disappointment in the sweeping, inaccurate, and unfounded opening: “As the Mandela era is overtaken by African politics as usual, a Canadian diplomat shares his personal account of the end of apartheid.” Perhaps you could help us understand what “African politics as usual” means? There are appropriate magazines for innuendo and illogical utterances, but I do not think The Walrus is one.
I was excited to read Richard Poplak’s “Seeing Red” in The Walrus (March), yet I found myself deeply disappointed by the end of it—not a single mention about the women’s national team, which continues to reach new heights. As well as providing world-class competition, the women’s national teams in both soccer and hockey play a cleaner game that showcases the true sport rather than the posturing and violence found in the men’s versions. Professional soccer has a bright future in Canada for men and women alike. Show your support!
We already have a national sport, a beautiful sport that we gave to the world, one that represents our culture, identity, and aesthetic brilliance better and more accurately than anything else imaginable. It unites us from coast to coast, as it always has, from the days of Foster Hewitt’s voice serenading the ears of Canadian families, right up to Sid the Kid’s “golden goal” that sent 35 million people into simultaneous jubilation. To suggest that eschewing this tradition in favour of a more widely acknowledged and popular sport will finally “tell us who we are” is pretty damn conformist and reeks of insecurity (“Everybody else is doing it—why not us?”). We don’t need to be all things to all people. That’s not what being Canadian is about, nor should it ever be.
What annoys me most about Maryam Sanati’s “Brand Me” (March) is the repeated use of “we” when she should be saying “I.” It reminds me of travelling abroad with a naive eighteen-year-old who kept embarrassing me by saying things like “Oh, we don’t do that in Canada.” Plenty of people in Sanati’s and my cohort (I’m thirty-three) would have taken to the new technologies and behaviours with abandon—and the boomers just as much so. We simply didn’t have the tools. Does that make it a generation gap?
I’m not sure this is a fair representation of narcissism online. Don’t think it’s just Gen Y anymore.
At the Wheel
Finally, a politician with a vision (“Life in the Bike Lane,” March): making the streets of the Plateau safer, closing the back streets so our kids can play in them, lightening the traffic (essentially coming from the suburbs) so the roads are stronger and the air is cleaner. We have to make changes, because we know we cannot continue like this. Luc Ferrandez has real vision and courage—two qualities that are so rare in politicians.
This appeared in the May 2012 issue.