Canadian Village

The Canadian Village David Watts 4 July 2003

As it grows, a hamlet becomes a village, a town may become a city. In time a city may lose its walls, and rediscover the innocence of a wider comm-unity.

Stadacona became Quebec, Hochelaga Ville Marie, then Montreal.

A Huron campsite became York, and eventually Metro Toronto.

Brisebois became Fort Calgary, and Camosun, Victoria.

At the centre of a metropolis there’s often still an old town, or more than one: Yorkville and Little Italy at the heart of Toronto, Gastown and Coal Harbour in Vancouver.

Some cities haven’t yet been reborn as towns and villages. For all its trendy neighbourhoods and covered malls, Calgary is still concrete and glass, far from the fort or cowtown it once was.

Other settlements have never known themselves as anything but villages and small towns: Alert Bay BC, Eckville Alberta, Colonsay Saskatchewan and Gimli Manitoba.

They may view themselves self-consciously in the presence of their elders, forgetting that coming of is not age is not size or sophistication but experience: remembering where we’ve been.

So it is with a maturing Planet Earth.

The continental drift that separated Europe from North America, and South America from Africa is continuing eastward: closing the Pacific and enlarging the Atlantic till we meet again—

Not in a new undifferentiated Pangea, but in a rich, vibrant gathering of nations.

Canada is in the forefront of this evolution. Our name, the Algonkin Kanata means “village.”

Our country is as wide a spread as the thirty countries of Europe in distance, yet has the informality of a town

Our peoples, aboriginals and later arrivals, are as wide a spread as the United Nations in diversity. yet we have the intimacy of a town or village.

Latin Americans, Africans and Asians mingle in our cities and towns as the citizens of English, German and Ukrainian origin came to till our soil generations ago.

It was a Canadian who coined the terms “global village” and “Gutenberg galaxies.”

Some states see themselves as fortified cities surrounded by walls, moats and towers. They keep watch and sound an alarm when approached by outsiders.

Other countries see themselves as unfortified towns and villages. Our job is to be ready to greet and welcome when others approach:

Canada, the original global village in the galaxies of the universe: Live long and prosper!