It’s been a few years since I last saw Mosaika – the free sound and light show that played on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill for the last few years, entertaining residents and visitors alike. Mosaika finished its run at the end of summer 2014, but from what I recall, it deserved all the acclaim it received.
Aside from its gorgeous animation, the show presented a balanced look at Canada’s history but rounded out the country’s story by highlighting all that Canada continues to offer the world – art, music, film, sports, literature, science, medicine. It touched on all this and more.
The replacement show is called Northern Lights. More like Northern Lite!
The new show pales by comparison. Kudos to the company that created the animation – it was indeed beautiful – but from there the review gets pretty grim.
After watching the new show, a newcomer would be forgiven for believing that Canada’s best years are behind us. The focus was firmly on the country’s history, with chapters on the founding of Canada, the many (many!) explorers who discovered the country, and a significant stress on our military history (a history, sadly, made utterly boring by the gravel-voiced, monotone narrator that would not be out of place in a Hollywood movie trailers: “In a world…”)
But even the history that they did present was sorely lacking in balance. While the military received a huge amount of focus, for instance, there was absolutely no reference to Canada’s role in establishing UN peacekeeping, nor any attempt to highlight our decades of effort leading successful peacekeeping missions around the world. The show preferred to spend 10 minutes on our role in WWI and WWII (which, while important, was quite a few years ago now… let’s face it. We’ve been busy using our military for other missions).
In it’s final section, the show devotes an entire chapter to “Pride and Vision,” but they neglected to flash a rainbow flag or mention equality in any form whatsoever. I can infer from the show that the role women played in Canada’s history must have been minute. By the time a woman’s voice first appears in the narration, the show is about 75% finished!That’s a pretty abysmal attempt at equality. Nor is there any sort of stress on our rich, multicultural society.
Most unforgivably, they left out any reference whatsoever to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Not that I expected any mention of P.E. Trudeau, but to absent such a foundational document – one that is widely admired around the world as a bedrock of rights and freedoms, and one that Canadians in general see as representative of our shared goals and values – is absolutely absurd.
The messaging that Northern Lights puts forward is woefully inadequate, but given the government in power, not unexpected.
Thing is, despite it’s shortcomings, I still CAN’T recommend NOT seeing it. Yes, Northern Lights is missing a lot, but the simple fact that we as a people have the freedom to march onto the grounds of our Parliament whenever we want, and sit there to be entertained by a nightly show projected on the front of our seat of government, is astounding. It’s not something we should ever take for granted.
It makes me proud to be a Canadian (even if the show itself is garbage).