On what has to be one of the coldest, most overcast Canada Day long weekends in Vancouver in recent memory, I've had Wolf Parade's new album, Expo 86, on repeat as I've contemplated the fallout over the mass arrests in the police state that became Toronto during the G20 (can't these leaders just Skype, for shit's sake?!); marveled at the Queen's fashion forwardness (you go with those hats, girlfriend!); and of course watched Dunga and Diego fall on their own swords following the double calamity of Brazil's and Argentina's respective losses at the World Cup (did everyone see the jive Angela Merkel did when Germany won?).
It was in 1986, in Mexico, that Canada fielded its first--and only--World Cup team. They lost all three of their round-robin games while failing to score a single goal. Another thing, along with my weak ankles and lame beer ads, I like to insist hockey take the blame for.
But who in Vancouver was actually paying attention to what was happening on the pitch in Mexico in 1986? How could that compete with images of Charles and Di greeting Expo Ernie? With the UFO H₂O water park? With the floating McBarge? With, goddamit, the unveiling of that giant hockey stick? Where, indeed, would Vancouver be today without Bill Bennett's chutzpah, Jimmy Pattison's vision, Grace McCarthy's hair?
Coincidentally, another World Expo is taking place on the other side of the Pacific right now, and we all should be paying attention to what's going on in Shanghai, as with this spectacle--on which the Chinese government has lavished far more money than the Beijing Olympics--the world's most populous country is saying not just to G20 leaders, but to the entire globe, we control much more than your collective debt. Ironically, in banishing Michaëlle Jean to Shanghai during the Queen's visit to Canada (a deliberate and coordinated plan according to Michel Cormier on the CBC), Stephen Harper has actually given the outgoing Governor General a major international platform to promote the historical ties between Canada and China. By all accounts she is doing so superbly. And given the choice of the heat and humidity of Shanghai or the heat and humidity (and blackflies) of Winnipeg, where would you rather be?
I'd take either--heat or humidity, that is--right now.