Whenever something feels culturally strange in North America, I learned to ask myself the following question: is this an actual thing or just a corporate money-grab excuse?
Fake “holidays” like “La Poutine Week,” “World Nutella Day,” “National Cookie Day” or “Ribfest” are made-up celebrations invented by companies looking to drum up interest and sell a specific product. I’m not exactly breaking news here, yet I’m occasionally amazed by the way North Americans enthusiastically embrace “unique events” or “great deals.” I’ve seen Canadians (and Americans) all hyped up about absolutely ridiculous events I don’t even understand. One comes to mind—the giant queue on Harvey’s Free Burger Day for a $5 burger. Remember that a burger is just a bun, a patty and topping… I wouldn’t fight my way to the door for a free one!
On the other hand, Canada Day is a real holiday—it marks the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the Constitution Act, 1867, which united the three separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada.
This year is Canada’s 150th birthday. For some people, this nice, round number is a milestone and a chance to celebrate our history and identity. Unfortunately, in this culture of hyper-materialism, Canada 150 is also turning into a cash grab for retailers.
The recipe is simple: take a product, put the words “Canada,” “150” or “eh” on it and hope for aisle-end display.
Usually, before Canada Day, the aisles are full of Canadian flags, t-shirts and fireworks.
— Juliette Giannesini (@Xiaozhuli) May 19, 2017
This year, it’s just … complete nonsense—or in marketing speak, “a wide range of branded products to meet every possible need.”
Over the past week, I took pictures of some of the Canada 150 products in stores around Ottawa. Have fun browsing, and tell me which one you find the most irrelevant in the comments!