We celebrated Canada Day this week and while posting this on July 4 may seem ironic, I still thought it important to reflect on what it means to be Canadian. 39 years ago I came to Toronto with my parents from Israel. I’ve always been proud of my Israeli heritage, but I truly feel very lucky to be Canadian. When I see what happens in this volatile world of ours, I can only think about what a great nation we live in. My children were born here and my life is good. While other countries may see us as over-apologetic, hockey-obsessed, toque-wearing, beer-guzzling, winter-loving, doughnut-eating, beaver worshipers, we are lucky. Here’s why.
1. Freedom - This is so precious especially when you consider all the countries who oppress their citizens and persecute those who dare to speak against their nation’s politics and way of life. WE GET TO VOTE, education is mandatory and we have freedom of speech. Enough said.
2. Cultural Diversity - Consider all the groups intolerant of those who practice different religions and come from different cultural backgrounds. Come to Toronto during World Cup season where cultural diversity is front and centre.
3. Acceptance - We accept people’s differences. We were one of the first countries to recognize same-sex marriage and just celebrated World Pride with people who came from countries where homosexuality is illegal.
4. Safety - While crime does occur in Canada, it’s relatively low compared to other countries. Our gun laws are stricter, we protect one another and unite in times of need.
5. Weather - Yes we’re a cold country, but we ski, we snowboard, we play and we celebrate winter. Come summertime, people vacation here because with all the great Canadian scenic hots spots, why would you leave?
6. Pride - Every accomplishment a Canadian achieves makes us proud of who we are. Look at Eugenie Bouchard, the 20 year old tennis pro and first Canadian women’s singles player to make it into the grand slam finals at Wimbledon. Whether she wins it or not, she will be celebrated. Canada has produced some phenomenal greats from leaders, to innovators, to visionaries, to athletes, to celebrities, to authors and beyond.
7. Civility - We are a polite nation. There’s nothing wrong with that. Would you rather go somewhere where people are rude?
8. In no order of importance – Maple Syrup, bacon, butter tarts, poutine, Tim Hortons, Kids in the Hall, Degrassi, Anne of Green Gables, Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Sidney Crosby, Gordie Howe, Hayley Wickenheiser, Clara Hughes, Steve Nash, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Mordecai Richler, Seth Rogan, Christopher Plummer, Alex Trebek, Gordon Pinsent Michael J. Fox, Jim Carrey, William Shatner, Mike Myers, Mary Pickford, Catherine O’Hara, Rachel McAdams, Sandra Oh, Sarah Polley, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Nelly Furtado, Sarah McLachlan, K.D. Lang, Bryan Adams, Cirque Du Soleil, Trivial Pursuit, Insulin, Superman, Ice Hockey…there’s more but you get the gist.
These and many more reasons that I’ll probably think of after I post this blog are why I appreciate Canada. We’re not perfect (see all levels of government), but we’re a good bunch and there’s nothing wrong aboot that.
Happy 4th of July!