One day late, as I was celebrating my beautiful country with family, but Happy Canada Day!
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Canada in the past while, dually brought on by our big birthday and my best friend being steps from a terrorist incident overseas. I have always loved being a Canadian, but I think that the feeling solidifies with age as the exotic sheen of other countries fades away and you realize other places are great to visit, but this is home.
As kids, our family did not take a lot of vacations. We went camping a lot though on the weekends, and I can’t say how lucky I was to grow up a few hours from the Rockies in Alberta. Beautiful rivers, quiet lakes and majestic mountains are mostly what I remember about those trips. I also remember driving past mines, oil derricks and logging operations and having my parent’s explain to me the many economic drivers of my province.
Every 4-5 years we would go on a bigger trip, though, and always somewhere in Canada. My parents believed that we’d have our whole lives to go outside our borders but that it was important for us to learn about and appreciate our own country first. And so, I’ve seen every province of this awesome country. I’ve been in the Arctic circle. Stood in places so remote you can see three distinct lines of mountains and not a road, settlement or even a utility line. I’ve been to the tops of mountains and roasted in the heart of the Okanagan.
I’ve waved at icebergs and boated on inland fjords. I know that there is a Canadian Mediterranean where palm trees grow. I’ve visited Peggy’s Cove and the far edge of Vancouver Island and endless places in between.
There is no place I’d choose to have my roots rather than Canada. This country has many problems of its own that need to be worked on – like getting clean drinking water for all citizens, stopping the MMIW crisis, integrating refugees to our country so they can thrive and putting in place sustainable means of driving our economy. Canada has it’s issues just like anywhere else.
That being said, we are a nation that came into its identity not through monarchist birthright nor through civil unrest, but by coming to the aid of the world when our help was needed. We are the nation that brought peacekeeping to the world. Our flag is a symbol of love to those we’ve helped and hope to those who dream of a better life.
As a Canadian, I was born into some of the best luck imaginable by being born into a life here. Canadians are quietly patriotic, but Canada’s birthday is often our excuse to show our love explicitly for this awesome country. The first 150 were great… I’m looking forward to what we’ll have seen and learned at 200.
If you’re Canadian, how did you celebrate? If you’re not, where’s somewhere in Canada that you’d like to visit?