Icon at a gas bar

It’s the sort of thing I do mindlessly. Pull up next to the pumps. Pop the gas tank cover lever next to my driver’s seat. Walk around to the pump. Pick up the nozzle. Press the self-serve request for gas. And fill my gas tank. Then, just as mindlessly, I walk into the gas bar booth to pay for my gas. Only this time, when I entered the booth, I was almost bowled over by the music blaring inside.

“There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run,” an unmistakable voice was singing from the booth speakers.

And I nodded my head so the booth attendant would realize I heartily approved. And then I asked him why that music, why that loud?

“Because this month is Canada’s 150th,” he said with a pinch of patriotism. “And after all, it IS the greatest Canadian song ever.”

Where the Junos come from

The current Juno Award owes its name to a champion of Canadian arts and culture from the late 1960s, Pierre Juneau. Photo Music Canada.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with some of my journalism students about the annual parade of awards shows – the Grammys, the People’s Choice Awards, the Oscars and the rest. The subject of this year’s Canadian music awards, coming up in April, eventually cropped up. They had all heard of the Junos, sure. But then I asked if anyone knew the origin of the Junos.

“Oh, it’s the name of the Canadian beach on D-Day,” one said.

“Yes, you’re right on the D-Day reference,” I said. “But not the musical one.”

“I know,” said one of my more erudite students. “Juno is the Roman goddess of marriage and queen of the gods.”

“Right again,” I said. “But she’s got nothing to do with the Juno Music Awards in Canada.”