Canadiana 2000 by Kevin McCabe


The Castle Souvenir Shop in Chippawa. Photo courtesy of the Wilfred Hicks Collection, Niagara Falls Public Library

The plastic Mounties come in five sizes
With prices adjusted to every pocketbook.
They are drawn up in ranks of prancing horsemen,
Proudly displaying their little Canadian flags,
And marshalled under a sign which reads “Canadiana”.
The Mounties are ready to march:
To take their places on ashtrays, mugs, key-chains, T-shirts, and underwear;
To serve their country at souvenir stands, gift shops, motel lobbies, bus terminals, information
booths, and gambling casinos;
To form a guard of honour for Wayne Thompson, Mike Harris, Jean Chretien, Marilyn Monroe,
Angela Mosca, and Arnie Swartzennegger;
To go forth from here all over the world as little symbols of Canada.
And, standing in front of the display, in the fever of the moment,
I am rapt in an epiphany:
It seems to me that I am witnessing
The birth of a nation.

Source: Kevin McCabe. Canadian Topics: Poems About Canada, 1967-2017. St. Catharines: Blarney Stone Books, 2017

N.B. This poem was inspired by a souvenir market on River Road (not the Castle Souvenir Shop) – personal note from the author.



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