Some Canada Day TV Moments


First of all, let me say that I actually approve of the name “Canada Day.” Well, “approve” may not be the right word. Let’s say I like it better than the original; one of my earliest memories is hearing the term “Dominion Day” and wondering why we were celebrating a holiday based on the supermarket. When they changed it to Canada Day, I remember thinking: Oh, that makes sense.  Maybe it could have a cooler name, but it’s fine the way it is.

I was asked in comments about the best and worst Canada Day specials, but I have to say, I really don’t know what they are. Because, unlike our Southern neighbour, we never made a clean break from the British Empire (and I’m certainly not saying we should have), it’s hard to construct a spectacular narrative for our independence day, and Canada Day is really more of a celebration of being Canadian and creating an identity that was distinct from Britain. That’s great, but it means that a Canada Day special is often indistinguishable from a pro-Canada special from any other time of the year — or at least, that’s the way it used to seem to me.

But here are some clips I found demonstrating how Canada Day has been promoted on television in the past 20 years — for as you know, an event does not exist until it’s promoted on television.

YTV, back when it was new and kind of cool, celebrates Canada Day in 1990:

A 1992 music-n’-montage commercial celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Big C:

1996: The Toronto Blue Jays, consisting almost entirely of Americans, promote Canada Day by lip-synching to a Canadian-specific parody of “This Land Is Your Land.”

And more recently, yet another Molson Canadian ad that plays on our combination of patriotism and self-deprecation.

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Some Canada Day TV Moments

  1. The Canadian version of "This Land is Your Land" is not a parody. It was composed by Pete Seeger with the American lyrics
    but not recorded or performed due to Pete being blacklisted. The Travellers invited Pete to perform with them in Canada and
    wrote the Canadian version when they heard Pete perform it. Pete gave the publishing rights to them in gratitude for being
    able to make a few bucks working. It's the real deal and a darn fine performance by the Jays.
    Yay Canada.

    • Close but no Cigar….Woody Guthrie wrote This land is Your Land in 1944…not Pete Seeger

      • Close, but…

        Woody Guthrie wrote the LYRICS to "This Land is Your Land" in 1944, however, the melody comes from a Gospel Hymn called "Oh, My Loving Brother" [see: Cray, Ed (2004). Ramblin Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie. W. W. Norton & Company. p 165]. (from the Wikipedia page on the song).

        The Travelers were definitely responsible for the Canadian lyrics though, and making them famous in Canada, but I can't find any reference to them and Pete Seeger in that context, and it seems unlikely that Seeger could "give them the publishing rights" to it, as he didn't write the song.

        Perhaps some of the confusion comes from the fact that when Seeger and Springsteen sang the song at Obama's Inaugural Concert, Seeger had them sing the original lyrics, which are much more political and less laudatory than the words we all generally think of. However, Seeger's insistence was that they sing GUTHRIE's original lyrics. If one heard on T.V. though that Seeger "insisted they use the original lyrics" one might conclude erroneously that Seeger WROTE the original lyrics.

        (All that said, don't you wish leeter's story were correct? It'd be a great story!)

        I now await the next pedant's addition to our knowledge about "This Land is Your Land".