Original Kitchener, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday May 24, 2022
Another Victoria Day weekend has come and gone here in the original Canada West. I’m writing this on the Empress Victoria’s actual birth anniversary — her 203rd — which is Tuesday May 24.
Two years ago I started writing a bi-weekly column of “musings” for CultKW, a project of THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener. They called it I am Groot, with the tagline “still musing after all these years”. After an introductory column, I began the series with reflections on Victoria Day 2020.
I’d also started writing occasional posts for a personal website, and carried on with hosting and editing a weekly “community radio magazine” that airs on 98.5 CKWR, Canada’s first community radio station.
Last fall, in the wake of the 2021 federal election, I launched a Substack newsletter. The inaugural post was an open letter to the freshly elected or re-elected representatives to Canada’s Parliament from our neck of the woods. The intention was to begin sharing thoughts with a more political focus giving equal weight to the three spheres of our democracy: federal, provincial and municipal. I called it “The Evening Muse, a newsletter of reflections from here, now and then”.
The radio magazine continues to run, although no longer as a project of the Commons Studio at The Working Centre. The wordsmithing, however, started petering out, for a variety of reasons. But my thoughts continue to race along. They need some kind of outlet. It’s time for a re-set, and there is no better time for new beginnings than spring planting time, after the last day of frost.
I don’t think there’s room for any new channels or directions. As it stands, there are three mainstream platforms I use regularly, including contributions to eight different pages and groups on Facebook alone, along with six websites of one kind or another. There is a need for consolidation, but not prioritization. I want to carry with various threads that were introduced along the way.
So the plan is to go back to the beginning, and repost, with a few revisions here and there, all the writing that I think remains relevant in some way, along with a few comments explaining why.
Meanwhile, I’d like to return to a more regular output, starting with the original twice per month. I’ll start utilizing the Substack platform, because it seems the most versatile, but keep marinusdegroot.ca as a mirror site and a repository for “On Further Reflection” re-posts.
The Victoria Day, 2020 post seems a good place to start. I’m posting it here, with minor revisions, and a note to say that << I still love Victoria Day / Fête de la Reine as celebrated in Canada, especially here in Upper Canada, for all its “quaint peculiarities.” I also have a deep and abiding fondness for Cavaliere Raffaele Zaccaquini’s landmark sculpture of Victoria and the Lion, which has been controversial of late, having become the object to the same kind of desecration that led to the removal of the statue of John A MacDonald in Baden.>>
I’ve also reposted a revised version of my Victoria Day, 2021 post, and will follow with a new column reflecting on the Victoria Day that has just passed.
The intention here, almost from the outset, has been to pull together the various threads that were started through these various projects and weave them into a pamphlet of some kind. The original idea was to offer some light-hearted 21st-century neo-loyalist reflection on Common Sense, the 18th-century pamphlet that did so much to divide North America into two federated nation states, each under their own version of settler home rule. But who knows where we’ll actually end up. We’ll go where the winds in our sails take us.