Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Victoria Day

Victoria Day weekend - fishers on the pier, sail boats on the lake, families on the board walk, dogs on leashes, boys on skateboards (hair carefully brushed over their eyes), girls in shorts and flip-flops going by in groups, the distant sound of firecrackers (leading up to full fireworks at nightfall), an ice cream van with it's tinkling music drawing adults and children from the park next door, and gardeners like myself happily up to our elbows in potting soil.

Fifty three years ago today my parents arrived in Canada from England, docking at Halifax after two weeks at sea. They look stylish and impossibly young in the photos, their two little sons in their arms. Interest in seeing more of the world had brought them to Canada and here was the first of many surprises, that their new country celebrated the birthday of the previous century's monarch. "It's Victoria Day!" was the greeting on that first morning as they made their way from the docks to the train for Toronto.

Back to painting tomorrow, and to preparations for the upcoming art show at Sovereign House.
Meanwhile, Happy Victoria Day!


  1. Happy Victoria Day to you too!

  2. For me mentions of Queen Victoria evoke memories about the history surrounding "The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire" and how much the world has changed since then, for the better, I think. Still, I like the thought of Queen Victoria still being honored because even though our world changed radically, that's our past, our collective past. Even though you and I live in different countries, the lives of our ancestors were influenced by those times, and the ones before them.

    It's good to honor where we have been as we look towards where we are going, and where we currently are.

    This is seemingly unrelated, but I own a rose-gold bracelet, an antique my grandmother bought for me at a shop in Edinburgh at least twenty-five years ago. It has a small VR engraved on a heart shaped "lock" and the bracelet looks like a rather heavy chain. It hails from the Victorian era and was actually a mass produced piece in the U.K. to honor Victoria's twenty-fifth year on the thrown.

    Two years ago there was an exhibit of artifacts from the Titanic here in Denver. I went with a friend, and later another friend wrote a piece on the jewelry recovered from the wreckage. It was pretty easy for me to recognize the commemorative bracelet found in amongst the salvaged jewelry.

    Just a minor tie to a person who -- at the very least -- had lost that commemorative bracelet to the icy seas.

    Just a tangible reminder of how so many of us, both here and living, or dead and gone have a link to Victorian times. Obviously I also know a lot of people with almost no ties to Britain but it is interesting how some many have small, uniting ties across time and geography.

    It's funny, I know on every logical level that Victoria Day is about a specific person but over the course of time, it really has become something that is about many of us. I could tell you about how the reign of Victoria had a direct impact on my ancestors, but I don't need to. Whether it was through ancestors who left pursuing opportunities after England began to reshape itself, or other factors, so many of the people I know have past ties to England.

    I heard a great quote about the U.K, "Great Britain lost an empire, and has yet to find a role." What a neat way to sum that up, but really, for so many of the people I know the role has simply changed. Looking back to the reign of Victoria, and the days of the vast and sprawling Empire most of us were touched by Victoria in some ways, long before we were ever born.

    Well, that was long and rambling. Sorry Frances! Have a marvelous day :-)

  3. Argh. Throne, not "thrown". Good gravy, what a silly mistake. Sorry, I tend to have time to read blogs with my morning coffee, but sometimes the coffee has yet to wake up my brain entirely!