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Saturday, 2 July 2011

TO Star (Fiorito): Canada Day/Necropolis/1837 rebellion/ Faiers-Terry Barker-Briesmasters

s to you for this chris! love judy
Fiorito: What exactly are we celebrating on Canada Day?

Published On Fri Jul 1 2011

Joe Fiorito, Toronto Star

The Hudson’s Bay Company belongs — lock, stock, barrel and blankets — to the Americans. Eaton’s is not ours any more, nor are the mills in Sudbury, and the 407 highway belongs to the Spaniards.
Most of what we buy is made in China. Our foreign policy is made in the USA. And the state — municipal, provincial, federal — is a bully with a billy club who took off his badge and arrested more than 1,000 people at the G20 in Toronto.

Worse, some of our malls and shops are open today, which means that many Canadians are earning minimum wage and no benefits on this, our national day.

What exactly are we celebrating?

Anybody with an open mind would think we need a rebellion, which is a roundabout way of saying that Chris Faiers was in town the other day.

Chris is a poet. He lives in Marmora. He came to town for two reasons: to celebrate his birthday, and to make a pilgrimage.

The pilgrimage is what is apt here, but you should know that he and I were born within a week of each other and, although we just met, we share many of the same literary, musical, social, pharmacological and political references.

I digress.

Forty years or so ago, Chris was a member of the Canadian Liberation Movement, the best part of which was a brief, bright push for independence, socialism and Canadian unions.

The worst part?

I still shudder.

In those heady old days, the CLM used to have an annual march to celebrate the Rebellion of 1837; the march tended to end at the Necropolis, where the Canadian martyrs Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews are buried.

Every year since the CLM collapsed, Chris, along with some of his old CLM pals, and his colleagues in poetry, stroll over to the monument to read a poem that Milton Acorn wrote for the martyrs, and . . . wait a second.

You could not, from now until the fireworks tonight, find a dozen people under the age of 30 who could tell you the first thing about the martyrs.

Allow me.

Lount and Matthews were hanged — the correct phrase is judicial murder — for their role in the 1837 Rebellion; the site of their execution is the corner of Court and Toronto.

Their grave is topped by a partial pillar; it is known as the Unfinished Monument, because their work remained unfinished at their deaths.

Frankly, the whole damn country remains unfinished, and if you return to the beginning of this column, you will find more reasons than one for another rebellion.

Chris invited me to make the pilgrimage this year, in part because we share a love of poetry, and also because he knows I flirted briefly with the CLM up north so many years ago.

With us on the walk were the poet Allan Briesmaster and his wife, Holly; and the teacher and unofficial historian of the CLM, Terry Barker. We read Milton’s poem for the martyrs, and then we walked among the graves.

We found the resting place of George Brown, the newspaperman and politician who was a member of the coalition that created the nation we celebrate today.

A coalition created Canada?

Take that, Stephen Harper.

We paused at the mass grave of those who were buried in the potter’s field that once occupied the corner of Bloor and Yonge.

And finally we stood with William Lyon Mackenzie, the reformer who was the first mayor of the City of Toronto. Hmm; a mayor, and reformer.

What was that about a rebellion?

Happy Canada Day.


Judy Haiven, PhD                

1 comment:

Chris Faiers/cricket said...

back in the Marm an hour ago ... great time in TO ... and an incredibly politikal write-up in yesterday's TO Star by columnist Joe Fiorito. I honestly wonder if he put his job on the line with it!?

Sylvia and I and the dogs walked our feet off yesterday and the day before. For Canada Day we hit the Spit for over 3 hours - all the way to the lighthouse (shades of V. Woolf there), and about 3 1/2 hours on Thursday walking cove after cove below the big waterfront TO water treatment plant (re "In the Skin of a Lion"). So Chase & I are pretty fried, to say the least.

Also dinners at Famous, 3 Seasons Hanoi, sushi from T&T, and finally my chicken cacciatore last nite. So Chase and I've also gained about 5 kilos each.
Sylvia just burns off the calories ... unfair

The visit to the Necropolis was a total Zen/shaman/historical success. Terry Barker and Allan and Holly Briesmaster joined us. TO Star columnist Joe Fiorito is a twin, separated at birth - he was born a week before me - he was also in CLM, a poet/writer, loves Velvets and Stones on funky jukeboxes - after the Necro tour we found a sleazy bar on Parliament St. - named (this is true) GRASSHOPPER - and Joe bought us all a couple of the the worst draft beers I've drunk in 30 years. Met some cool musicians who I hope show up for PurdyFest #5, Mike and Joel. Gave them my card with my email - hope they reply and then show up for PFest #5 - they'd make a great backing for Larwill's shaman CD.

Perfect weather, perfect birfday visit to the Necropolis, ending with the funky bar visit with Terry lecturing all of us for over an hour (above the very funky & loud jukebox) on the two new Milton Acorn books, the new Souster collection and PurdyFest, etc. etc. Sometimes we just have to speak out, and a supportive audience helps : )

Sylvia gave me a cool gargoyle for the shaman shack and a bunch of prayer flags for PurdyFest at ZenRiver Gardens. & chocolate cake

Great trip to TO!!!

billy blake & familiar ... wrffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff

On 2011-06-30, at 6:02 PM, John Burke wrote:

Writing is joy--
so saints and scholars all pursue it.
A writer makes new life in
the void,
knocks on silence to make a sound,
binds space and time on a sheet ofsilk
and pours out a river from an inch-sized heart.

-Lu Chi