Whatever happened to Chimo?

(Canscene) — At a recent party given to celebrate my 90th, glasses clinked as toasts were raised in variety of languages. Lalita Krishna and Paritosh Mehta raised the point that South Asian languages don’t accommodate the meaning of “Cheers” and “Salute” and kindred hundreds of toasting words and phrases.

I was reminded of “ Chimo.”

I told my friends that, 41 years ago as we geared up for Expo 67 to become a defining moment in Canadian history, my good friend “Mr. Canada” the late John Fisher, broadcaster, storyteller and author proposed that Canada adopt the Inuktituk word Chimo as our unique national toast. All went well for a while and then somehow Chimo faded out of sight as though we Canadians had become too self-conscious about making a toast so far from the ordinary.

John, it’s time we brought Chimo back to life. No easier way than to say we’re Canadian.

Let’s hear your views out there! That’s what the comments sections are for!
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4 Responses to “Whatever happened to Chimo?”

  1. Bill Says:

    Yes, good idea. Let’s toast with “Chimo”. Do you remember Oopik, the Canadian mascot character? I think it dates to about the same time as “Chimo” and your item reminded me of it.

    We reach to the Inuit frequently, when we want to express ourselves as distinctly Canadian, don’t we? Witness the symbol for the 2010 Winter Games.

  2. John Robert Colombo Says:

    I’m pleased that John Fisher is remembered with respect and also that the all-purpose Canadian word “chimo” is recalled with affection.

    I’ve crossed my fingers that “chimo” does n-o-t catch on. I have a purely selfish reason: I use it all the time, for toasts, exclamations, and good-byes. It elicits questions. Most of the curious people are people who were born outside the country. Most people born here have probably heard it at one time or another and have not given it a second thought and hence are not curious about it. My explanation of its origin benefits people of both groups. If it becomes a cliche, I have less to talk about!

    Chimo! to Ben!

    John Robert Colombo

  3. ben viccari Says:

    hi Bill, I hate to correct you, but it’s Ookpik and there are some interesting facts about Ookpiks in Wikipedia. Douglas Coupland featured it in his book and documentary Souvenirs of Canada. It’s still a underused symbol and should be beefed up as a symbol.

  4. Bill Says:

    Thanks for the correction, Ben. I made a typo and dropped a “k”. I’ll look up that Ookpik entry in Wikipedia. I see that your own Wikipedia entry is up to date, taking into account your recent birthday.

    Chimo!

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