Dancing Mounties, Flamingo Pink Jackets, Culture, and Elitism
At the closing ceremonies for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, as crooner Michael Buble belted out the lyrics to the 1867 nation-building anthem “The Maple Leaf Forever,” centre stage at BC Place Stadium was overtaken by a spectacle of dancing helium-filled balloon statues, including gigantic prancing moose and beavers, gold-medal-toting 20-foot-tall hockey players and plaid-shirted lumberjacks. As these massive balloons floated up to the stadium ceiling, groups of dancing backup singers dressed in scanty costumes that riffed on the well-known red-serge uniforms of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police can-canned across the stage. All of this dancing was set against a spectacular painted backdrop of mountains and pristine lakes and gigantic saluting Mountie statues. As the balloons drifted out of the stadium, they were replaced by a series of performances by some of Canada’s best (read, most lucrative) bands. The spectacle took stereotypes of Canadiana and blew them up (literally), in what was, according to the CBC coverage, “a tongue-in-cheek nod to everything Canadians are deeply proud to be….”
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Image: Christopher Drost, Rob Ford and Don Cherry, 2010.