Today we rode 67 miles from London to Brantford. Once again, overnight rain stopped just before the ride began. The temperature was a cool 65 under cloudy skies for most of the early part of ride, although it was 79 by the time we finished. Perfect weather.
Our route today was mostly out in the country lanes, roads with no center line and smooth blacktop. The landscape was like yesterday: farms growing corn, soybeans, and wheat. But there were some new crops: ginseng, tobacco, asparagus. I don’t think I have seen a tobacco crop before-it has a flower growing on top and is very pretty to look at in the fields. In general, farmers here seem more prosperous. There were some very large homes that looked more like they belonged in a sub-division in New Jersey, with big sweeping green lawns (in ground sprinklers), that were also manicured to perfection a la US suburbia. That, and some “different” colored barns, were the only distinguishable differences compared to the several thousand farms we have passed by in the US states behind us.
Brantford looks a bit like a city/town that would be suburban around London, England. I can’t exactly tell you why it feels that way, something about the architecture and layout (city centre) that just evoked that feeling in me. This city is famous as the birthplace of Alexander Graham Bell and Wayne Gretzky, and Jay Silverheels (born Harold Smith), who was Tonto, the faithful Indian sidekick of the Lone Ranger.
I’m wearing my jersey, but marriage equality is 7 years in the rear view mirror in Canada: In 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world and the first country in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide with the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act which provided a gender-neutral marriage definition for marriage (though courts had already stepped in in several provinces so same sex marriages go back further than that in Canada). Over the 2005-2007 period, several motions were brought to reconsider the Act. After the third vote supporting same-sex marriage taken by three Parliaments under three Prime Ministers in three different years, one Conservative cabinet member said he just wanted the issue “to go away,” and Prime Minister Stephen Harper afterwards told reporters that he “[didn’t] see reopening this question in the future.” Yeah!
Approximately 43% of Canadians identify themselves as Catholic. The Catholic church put up some fight against the Marriage Act, but after a subsequent backlash in public opinion, the Church grew quiet on the subject. The Bishop of Calgary did, however, issue a particularly incendiary pastoral letter against gays in general, going far beyond same sex marriage. Two human rights complaints were filed against him under the Alberta Human Rights act, one of which was eventually dropped at the conciliation stage. But undoubtedly the point was made that it is not OK to interfere in civil/state matters, and fortunately humanity’s perceptions of human rights supersede badly misguided theology. Oh, if we could only have such justice in the United States!