The opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic games was spectacular, an amazingly well-kept secret, flawless (as far as I could tell) in its execution, creative, quirky, funny, moving, inclusive, probably sometimes bemusing to overseas viewers. I was absorbed by every minute of it and I heartily agreed with Danny Boyle’s choice of things to love and admire about this country.
But I realised I couldn’t concur with those who said it made them ‘proud to be British’. It’s just not a sensation I recognise because although I have lived here since I was 18 months old, I was born in Montreal to a Canadian mother and a British father who had lived in Montreal for nearly 20 years. And after all this time, despite having been educated, worked, married, and brought up a family here, I don’t feel as though I ‘come’ from this country, and I still see myself as an outsider.
It turns out that when the chips are down and a competitor is wearing that red and white flag with its bold and beautiful maple leaf, it’s Canada that I want to win.