What’s More Canadian: The Hockey Sweater or the Log Rider’s Waltz?

DSC_0010.NEFIn wishing Boing Boing readers a Happy Canada Day, Cory Doctorow committed a sin that shames his Great Northern heritage:

There is no more potent symbol of Canadianness than the National Film Board of Canada’s musical short, The Log Driver’s Waltz: more than Leonard Cohen’s groans, more than Dan Ackroyd’s rampant toryism, more than “timbit” jokes about Tim Horton’s tragic car accident, The Log Driver’s Waltz defines Canada for its expatriate thirtysomethings. Just singing a few bars of this in a crowded space is enough to flush the crypto-Canadians out (Canadians are like axe-murderers, we look just like regular people) in throaty voice.

I’m a little late in reading that post, but I immediately wrote to argue for another Canadian institution: Roch Carrier’s “The Hockey Sweater”, in particular the wonderful animated short film version.

What’s more Canadian than a Quebecois reading a tale of his snowy youth in English, concerning the rivalry between the Habs and the Leaves (unofficial, pejorative spelling)? There’s even a reference to Timothy Eaton.

Who’s right, me or that log-dancing Easterner Doctorow?

UPDATE: Okay, let’s get semi-official with this. Go vote in the poll.


  1. Ah, well. I know The Hockey Sweater, well, but I can sing the Log Driver’s Waltz while drinking. All my most potent nationalism is discovered while drunk and singing.

  2. I’m willing to bet that 80% of Canadians have never even heard of The Hockey Sweater, whereas a greater proportion have seen the Log Driver’s Waltz on late night TV. (And I love The Hockey Sweater.)

  3. The Hockey Sweater by far – I’ve never heard of this-there Log Dariver Waltz… and I was born and raised in Ontario, went to university in New Brunswick and now live in British Columbia. We saw that Hockey Sweater film in elementary/middle school a few times in Ontario – Upper Canadian and all! *gasp!*

  4. The Hockey Sweater by far – I’ve never heard of this-there Log Dariver Waltz – ditto

  5. Log Driver’s Waltz for me too. I’d never seen or heard of The Hockey Sweater before today. It’s good, but the Log Driver’s Waltz always makes me verklempt..especially being so far from home.

  6. Chalk up another vote for The Hockey Sweater. I’m only vaguely familiar with the Log Driver’s Waltz. I don’t remember seeing it on TV much. Maybe we got different NFB shorts on TV in PEI, possibly even The Hockey Sweater since I remember seeing it quite a bit as a kid.

  7. Rebecca: What’re you, a member of the NDP?

    I kid. About the whole thing, really. In the cultural mosaic of Canada, there are many cultural touchstones.

  8. I think this is a particularly demographic question. For the 28-37 year olds it is all about the McGarrigle sisters. For all others it is the Hockey Sweater. The NFB vignettes don’t run any more but The Hockey Sweater is still required reading in many elementary classes.

  9. I’d agree that both are pretty important touchstones. For myself (born in ’79, so pretty much a child of the 80s, if it matters) the Log Driver’s Waltz resonates more (I think they used to show it between shows on YTV at some point), but The Hockey Sweater is important and ubiquitous enough that it’s excerpted on the $5 bill.

  10. Dave: I like the scientific approach, except that I’m dead in the centre of your demographic, and I’m going with Roch Carrier.

  11. My money’s on The Hockey Sweater. Watched it in elementary school and again in Jr. High (in French class this time). I’ve seen both, but if I had to choose it would be the sweater.
    What could be more Canadian than the conflict between the Habs and Leafs, French and English, over hockey, no less?

  12. Yup, definitely The Hockey Sweater. I add the historic Toronto/Montreal city rivalry to the reasons Rod cites. I don’t think it’s as much of a generational thing, weren’t the NFB animations produced about the same time?

    and hey, while we’re on the topic, why not throw in Cordell Barker’s The Cat Came Back, Richard Condie’s The Big Snit, and any of those Nelvana animated specials (Rock and Rule? A Cosmic Christmas?)

    or the original 1970s feature film version of Jacob Two-Two meets the Hooded Fang? (the kid who played Jacob is now my barber. True story.)

  13. For those of us who are little more dorky, I would sugget Professor Kitzel. It was animated, but mostly with stills, and showed vignettes of history using the time machine doo-hickey that Professor Kitzel had invented. One of my earliest memories!

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