Next week, on July 1st, my native Canada will turning a sprightly 147 years old. For the first time in years, I get to be back on maple-soaked soil for her birthday. This rare occurrence has me pondering exactly what it means to be Canadian... besides the abundance of poutine and ski resorts.
Living as an expat and traveling abroad, you get all the cracks; - “How ya doing, EH?!" and "What's that A-Boat?!"…
In addition to these quality zingers, there's a general consensus that it’s incredibly cold here, that we’re all pretty goofy and very apologetic, and that we’re pretty damn good at hockey.
Generally, all of this is true.
But what else?
What makes Canada unique and valuable? Why are we the 2nd happiest country on the planet, the most prosperous nation in the Americas, and title-holder of the "best reputation in the world" ?
Here's one Canuck's educated guess:
firstly, we’re kind of hilarious.
Sometimes, we even mean to be.
For whatever reason, Canadians all seem to be born with a terrific sense of humour. my humble self included OBviously. Jim Carrey, Dan Aykroyd, Seth Rogen, Mike Myers and Michael Cera are also decent evidence.
The next piece of our goodness must have something to do with what lay we're looking at everyday.
Canadians are privy to a spectacular amount of the great outdoors. There are fewer people in Canada, the second largest country in the world, than there are in the state of California. That basically means we have a heck of a lot of space to call our own and That space just so happens to include some of the most beautiful scenery on earth. From soaring mountain ranges to the salt-washed cliffs of the maritimes, It's truly a gorgeous chunk of the world.
Lastly, we’re a proud people. Not in a loud way, and not so much so that we’re blind to our many faults, but proud nonetheless.
And why shouldn’t we be?
From quality donuts and beer, to a collective identity built on inclusion and warmth, we’ve got a lot of things right.
We certainly aren’t afraid to say sorry (about anything. ever.), and we usually live life with a real sense of gratitude.
We’ve kept our air pretty clean, our milk pretty clean (Google it.), and our hands clean of some very ugly conflicts around the world.
And to top it all off ladies and gentleman, the Ryans - Gosling and reynolds (DUH) - are both 100% Canadian.
If you haven’t had the chance to come and experience The Great White North for yourself, just get up here already. We’ll make you feel more welcome than your own Grandpappy.
And to my Canadian audience, let’s make sure to take some time this Canada Day, and every day really, to celebrate all the beauty that lives here at home. We're seriously so blessed to be a nation that best defines diversity and sets a standard of tolerance and generosity for the rest of the world.
pour some extra maple syrup on your pancakes, crack open a Molson, and cheers your puck-loving neighbours, eh?
It’s our day.
"Canada is the “what” in “what’s new?”
so don’t say “been there done that”
unless you’ve sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun
don’t say you’ve been there done that
unless you’ve been here doing it
let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old
let us be the story told to your friends
and when that story ends
leave chapters for the next time you’ll come back
next time pack for all the things
you didn’t pack for the first time
but don’t let your luggage define your travels
each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry
we are the true north
strong and free
and what’s more
is that we didn’t just say it
we made it be.”
-An excerpt from “We Are More” by Canadian slam poet Shane Koyzcan