Opinion

COLUMN: A peek into the future of the Realm of Hyack

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The controversy surrounding the future of the Hyack Festival Association has dominated local news in recent weeks, and for now its future is still in limbo. How will it all pan out?

Thankfully, we here at the NewsLeader have something called the Future Archives, a fabulous new technology that lets us see the future, today.

Let’s set the dial to 2015, and have a look.

MAY 15, 2015

NEW WESTMINSTER—An historic occasion was marked today in the city of New Westminster, met with cheers on one side, disappointment on the other.

The Royal Realm of Hyack received official recognition from Victoria, the culmination of a year-long quest to secede from the rest of New West and establish its own territory, complete with its own currency, legal and education systems, and police force.

“At last, the long-held dream of many has been successful,” said Queen Victoria who, along with her husband King Albert, made the transition from Hyack Festival Association past presidents into their new roles (and new names) as leaders of the newly established monarchy.

“This calls for a parade.”

This week’s surprising sequence of events dates back to a rift within Hyack in late 2013. At the time, an upstart group challenged some key traditions of Hyack, and wanted to change it into an organization that had clear policies, transparent bookkeeping and accountability to the taxpayer. Although Hyack was also threatened for a time by troublemakers in City Hall who not only asked for an audit but even went so far as to pull funding, Hyack’s core followers held steadfast in their convictions.

Under the cover of darkness one night in May 2014, a courageous group of select past presidents surrounded Hyack offices with hoarding and proclaimed their intention to seek independence and official status.

Today, a drawbridge spans a moat on Queens Avenue, providing access to the Royal Realm. In total, the territory covers about half an acre, encompassing an area of Queens and Sixth Street just steps from City Hall.

(During the tense early weeks of the territorial dispute, the cannons outside City Hall were repositioned to intimidate.)

Just outside the Royal Realm of Hyack is the Lawyers’ Village, which was established on the fringe of the Realm just weeks after the hoarding went up, providing services to both sides in the dispute. The Village has quickly become overcrowded and suffers from poor sanitation, but its GDP is poised to eclipse Switzerland’s.

Residents in the Royal Realm (pop. 18) begin each day with an Anvil blast, which has sparked some complaints in the nearby Quayside neighbourhood.

Next is a brief parade, led by King and Queen with horse and carriage, followed by the Hyack float with three past Hyack princesses (‘62, ‘71 and ‘74).

Six men have been knighted and named to the Royal Guard, which acts as the Realm’s police force, and don suits of armour while on duty.

(In an aside, the industrious citizens of Hyack have just completed a high school, and the school district is currently in negotiations to send students there in September)

Sunday in the Realm is Maypole Day—using streetlamps and bungee cords—and the dance begins at noon and concludes at 4 p.m. or whenever everyone is too tuckered out to continue.

The timing of today’s announcement coincides with the beginning of Hyack Realm Week, a month-long festival during which the Realm will receive delegations from hubs in Washington state as far flung as Wilbur, Oso and Spangle.

Outside the Realm, in the city of New Westminster, former Hyack traditions are not dead. The Anvil Battery Salute and May Day at Queen’s Park continue to be celebrated.

Although the mayor mourned the loss of a piece of land in the centre of the city, there has been a silver lining to the creation of the new monarchy.

“We were on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart again last night,” said the mayor, “and while we may be seen as a bit of an oddity, it seems to be bringing in the tourists.”

Although the Hyack Realm has been functioning independently for several months, official recognition from the Legislature has real meaning, says King Albert.

“Today marks a triumph of tradition over progress, continuity over evolution,” he said, waving his sceptre toward the sky.

“In seeking inspiration to create this new land, we have turned our gaze inward. And there we shall remain.”

• Chris Bryan is editor of the NewsLeader, and always loves a good parade.

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