Happy Canada Day! Yes, even on the other side of the world we can celebrate. Trafalgar Square is home to a fantastic party every year. I went down early, all decked out in my red and white. My media pass allowed me to skip past the lines and get in a few minutes early. I found a great spot on the steps to watch the start of the road hockey tournament. After a bit I got up and walked around to check out all the vendors and grab a Canadian beer. I noticed a lot of stereotypical things, food or activities people think are Canadian as well as a lot of people pretending to be Canadian. That’s fine, we know everyone wants to be like us, we are great! Just don’t be mean or rude when pretending to be a Canuck. After a couple hours I headed back to the hotel, it’s only about a 10 minute walk from the square, because I was planning to meet a friend and current London resident back there later. At my hotel one of the craziest things ever happened, I got into the lift and dropped my wallet. Just as it bounced and everything went flying, wouldn’t you know the doors opened up and my drivers license went straight down the gap where the door opens and closes. It was like watching it happen in slow motion, I couldn’t believe it! I called the front desk and they said they would see what they could do.

Still a little shocked about my elevator mishap, I went on a bit of a walk and ended up having lunch at the Charing Cross hotel, they were putting on a special Canada Day lunch menu. It’s such a beautiful hotel inside! It was one I had wish I could have stayed at but any time I looked at booking it, it was either booked solid or only the really expensive rooms were still available. I just loved the grand staircase leading upstairs to the restaurant and then…the restaurant itself with the tall ceilings and the big, bright windows! Such a lovely space. I will be honest though, while it was a Canada Day menu, it wasn’t overly authentic. No one here really eats bacon wrapped Caribou – first of all because you’re not allowed to kill Caribou so I’m quite interested in to how they ended up with one. I couldn’t eat the salmon, because I’m allergic so I settled for the traditional pancakes. To me Canadian pancakes are the big, floofy, buttermilk kind. I ended up with a couple of crepes with some ice cream. Delicious but not what I’d say is really a Canadian meal.

Back at Trafalgar Square I met up with Lindy. Again, someone else I hadn’t seen in two years since my last visit. We used to work together before she left for the Big Smoke. She’s always a lot of fun to catch up with. We sat and chatted and watched the hockey tournament for awhile. This time i had my hockey jersey on, it wasn’t quite as warm as the day before and I was the only person i saw wearing an Oilers jersey.
Lindy and I headed over to the Trafalgar Hotel, again another one I tried to boo – it to is also fabulous inside. Anyway, that is where the media reception I had been invited to was taking place. I have to say, it was one of those things, just like that great night at Mahiki, I will never forget. We were on the roof of the hotel, overlooking Trafalgar Square and all the festivities. It was amazing! Amazing views all around London… I really couldn’t believe my luck. Oh and free alcohol. You really can’t go wrong. We stayed up there for hours, having a great time. Finally we decided to go back down to the actual festivities and enjoy them. We got to Trafalgar Square just in time to see The Sheepdogs play their last couple songs, they’re pretty awesome so I was happy to catch some of their set. Then came The Tragically Hip, a Canadian institution. Hated them when I was younger but now I can appreciate them and surprised myself by just how many songs I could sing along to. It was quite special to watch the sun go down, the hip on stage with Nelson’s Column and Big Ben in the background. Lindy and I didn’t stay until the end – we wanted to be the rush of people. She headed toward Embankment and I back to my (Strand) Palace.
When I got into the hotel, draped in my hockey jersey and Canadian flag, the man at the front desk asked me who won. I had to explain it was Canada Day and then I had to explain just what Canada Day is. Oh and then he gave me back my drivers license that one of their maintenance workers went and dug out for me 🙂