Ladies and gentlemen, we ask you all to stand, remove your hockey helmets and tuques, place one hand over your hearts and join with us in the following expression of true patriot love: "Yippee, Canada!"
Thank you! Here now is the weather forecast we would like to give you for Canada Day: "A mix of cold beer and greasy snack foods in the morning, followed by scattered periods of waving tiny Canadian flags and trying to find some place to park the (bad word) car at one of the jam-packed parties around the city, with a 100 per cent chance of spending the evening watching some spectacular fireworks in the company of thousands of other sunburned people who are feeling a lump rising in their throats because they live in the greatest country in the world."
That said, here is the official forecast I am required to give you: damp!
Sadly, according to my true Canadian buddy, Dale Marciski from Environment Canada, a series of slow-moving low-pressure systems are going to be making us moist from now until Canada Day, especially in southwestern Manitoba, where some areas were looking at up to 80 millimetres of rain overnight Friday. "What this means is it will be fairly cloudy through the weekend and Monday and Tuesday," Dale said with an audible sigh. "Not a lot of sun, I'm afraid. The low-pressure systems will set off showers and thundershowers.
"It's not going to be raining all the time, but there will be frequent bands of showers over the next few days. It's going to make it kind of a soggy weekend. The rain will make it feel quite humid."
The weather office warns we'll see showers with a few thunderstorms this morning, with a 60 per cent chance of showers late in the afternoon and evening, risk of another thunderstorm and a high of 25 C, which is spot-on normal for this time of year.
Sunday's outlook calls for a mix of sun and cloud with a 40 per cent chance of showers and another high of 25 C, while Monday looks like periods of rain and a high of just 20 C.
As for Canada Day, Dale says the worst weather should be starting to move away, but expect some clouds and lingering showers. "It's also going to be quite cool on Canada Day (a high of just 17 C) with winds out of the northwest," Dale confided.
As pioneering and patriotic Canadians, we are not made of sugar, and we are not going to let a little moisture prevent us from enjoying our nation's birthday, are we, Winnipeg?
I expect everyone to stand on guard for our right to party by heading down to The Forks to help the nice folks from the Downtown BIZ form the country's largest living flag.
Last year, about 3,500 Winnipeggers stood shoulder to shoulder in front of the legislature in a gigantic, rippling Maple Leaf of sweaty humanity. This year, everyone is being asked to break the record and gather in front of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights near the Scotiabank stage. There will be 2,000 specially designed T-shirts handed out starting at 9 a.m. and photos of the Living Maple Leaf will be taken at 11 a.m. Rival organizers in Victoria, B.C., are threatening to form a larger flag. We must not allow this to happen, Winnipeg. If anyone is going to go flap in the breeze, it's going to be us!
Speaking of gigantic flags, I dragged Creepy Santa, my three-foot-tall stuffed Santa doll with the evil grin, to the Flag Shop at 1195 Pembina Hwy. this week to shoot a patriotic version of our beloved weather video.
Flag Shop owner Guy Gauthier said this holiday weekend is a lot like Christmas at his store. "We're always busy, but in June we get a lot more people who want to display the Canadian flag. They buy flagpoles and put flags up at their homes and cottages."
So after hoisting yourself up the living flagpole at The Forks, sidle over to the celebrations nearby, with parties also planned for Osborne Village and Assiniboine Park. And from the bottom of our patriotic heart: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CANADA! You're turning 147, but you don't look a day over 140 to us.