A survey of the nation’s dads, conducted last Sunday in city parks from coast to coast, has revealed an interesting dynamic between many Canadian fathers, our national symbol, and redemption, with over half of all respondents stating that they believe finding a perfect red maple leaf while on a walk they forced their children to take under threat of cutting off the wifi, will ultimately make everything better.
“Look, I’m sorry I shouted in the car,” says Edmonton dad, George Sorely, to his children as they trail behind him, kicking at leaves and counting the years until they can not return his phone calls. “But everyone was talking all at once and that guy took my parking spot and woah-ho-hey lookie that one!” George bends down and picks up a leaf from the ground, holding it aloft as though it were vindication itself made manifest.
“Corner’s missing,” says his son, barely glancing up.
“There’s mould around the stem,” adds his daughter in disdain, before rolling her eyes and putting her earphones back in.
George’s smile fades. He drops the leaf, sets his jaw grimly, and continues searching the ground for leafy redemption of the forced outing.
“It’s a thing,” confirms noted Canadian sociologist Jeanette Gosling. “In fact many historians believe that’s how the leaf became a national symbol in the first place. Legend has it that Sir John A. MacDonald, after shouting at his kids in the buggy on the way to a Sunday outing, pulled over to the side of the carriageway to give one of his sons the switch. Afterwards, feeling badly for having drawn blood, the Prime Minister chanced to spy a perfect red maple leaf lying in the grass, which he used to try to distract the crying boy.”
Asked if it worked, the sociologist smiles humourlessly and acknowledges it did not.
“The story goes that his son told him it sucked, and the hiding continued for some time thereafter. And thus a national tradition of trying to redeem yourself by finding a random leaf was born.”