Chivalry is not dead. At least not in Canada!
Vincent Gabriel Kirouac is six weeks into a cross-Canada journey, and he does it the medieval way – atop a horse, in full knightly regalia. It can get hot under a helmet on sunny days. His purpose? To prove that chivalry is not dead. And, to demonstrate that, he is chivalrous with his horse, Coeur-de-Lion (Lionheart) – they share the hard work by walking some and riding some.
“I’m crossing Canada on horseback dressed as a knight, to remind people of the values of long ago, such as devotion,” he said. “All the values of the knight.”
So far, it works. Wherever he shows up, stares turn to laughs and in the end a friendly welcome from a good many strangers.
He started in Riviere-du-Loup, a town on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, a month and a half ago. He has been heading west ever since, keeping to the back roads, although he made an exception to visit the capital, Ottawa, where he sang O Canada on Parliament Hill. You can’t ride a horse down the main highway and you can’t check into most hotels with one!
Kirouac is unemployed at the moment, after working for two years to raise funds for the trip. He describes himself as a “full time knight”.
Somewhere in all this there is a medieval song about courtly love just waiting to be written, one about hardships and pilgrimage, and a lady waiting at the end. Like the Roman de la Rose, eight centuries later and minus the naughty bits!
If you come across this modern-era knight (who carries a cell phone) no need to bow or curtsy – a smile and a wave of hand will do fine, thank you very much.