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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Love Letters to Canada on Canada Day

Most Canadians have their own unique reasons for knowing how lucky they are to live in Canada.  All of us have our own  "Canadian  moments" - moments when truly experience what it is to be Canadian. That's when we realize that we have won the jackpot.

Yes, like any other country in the world, Canada is not perfect. It has its flaws. But, it is still the best country in the world to live in - high taxes or not.   

Every year on Canada Day, I write a post on the many reasons I love Canada.... and there are too many to count.  Here is my post from last year on  Why I Love Canada
147 Reasons we Love Canada
This year,  I'm letting others do the talking.  They all have something important to say - things I often feel in my heart, but am unable to voice. 

Sit back and enjoy reading some of these love letters to Canada. You'll be happy you did, AND if you are a new Canadian, or thinking about moving here, you might learn something. 
Living in Canada in 2014 is to be one of the Luckiest People Alive 
By Barbara McDougallm special to the Globe and Mail  
This  year on Canada Day, between the picnic and the fireworks and the rock concert and the ice cream cone and walking the dog, I intend to get down on my knees and thank God I live in this country.

 I live here not because I deserve it or because I am smarter than anyone else, but because I am lucky enough to have ancestors who came here a couple of hundred years ago, from not-desperate backgrounds, and whose descendants have lived in modest comfort and incredible freedom ever since.

In the morning I do not wake up on the border of Syria, trying to push my way across into a refugee camp in Lebanon, where a million people have preceded me, desperately hoping there will be enough United Nations-supplied water and food to get me through the day.

 I do not wake up in the Central African Republic, consumed by fear of my machete-wielding neighbour, or worse still, wielding a machete myself, out to slash my neighbour in the name of some trumped-up religious quarrel, before he slashes me. 

I do not wake up in Israel, where every country in the region is committed to my destruction. I do not wake up in North Korea, where my brain is washed away by fear and propaganda. I do not wake up in northern Nigeria where my niece can be kidnapped for going to school.
I wake up here, to the smell of morning coffee. I complain about the traffic, and 
shake my fist at the construction. I worry about the effects of last winter’s ice storm on my boxwood hedge. I discuss with my husband the possibility of going to the country this weekend. I tsk-tsk at the price of imported mangoes.

 I telephone my city councillor to rail against the Chorley Park switchback. I chuckle with friends at the trouble a politician is in over remarks he made over Mothers Day – or was it Fathers Day? – of such importance that it was the lead item on the national news. 

We decide we shouldn’t  even have greeting card holidays. We watch tennis matches on television. We vigorously disagree on the results of the provincial election. I decide to go to the Art Gallery of Ontario for a long-postponed browse.

How did I deserve this incredible good fortune?\

What did I, and so many of us, do to deserve this incredible good fortune? To live in a country where no wars have been fought for two hundred years. A country with big freedoms – freedom of movement, freedom of political choice, freedom of religion, freedom from arbitrary persecution. But equally important a country of small freedoms: where we don’t have to think about politics every day, where the idea of armies marching up our streets is unthinkable, where daily life is secure and can consist of innumerable small decisions made freely and safely.
Yes, I am aware that Canada is no Utopia. I know about poverty and racism and workplace safety and the environment and all the other problems people wrestle with – including, sometimes, even me. On July 2 I will get back on to doing something about those issues where I can.
But on Canada Day, although I will laugh and celebrate, more important, I will utter a fervent thank you.
147 Reasons to Love Canada 

The Globe asked  some well -known Canadians and  its readers to build a list of 147 reasons to love Canada. What follows is the full list of 147 reasons, but we've clipped our favourites and compiled them into a shorter, more mobile-friendly list of our top 32 reasons

1. Our national anthem
We are genuine and authentic, honest and are leaders to the world on so many fronts. I believe heavily in the words to our anthem “with glowing hearts” and “True North strong and free.”– Kaillie Humphries, the first woman to win gold in the bobsleigh at consecutive Olympics
Watch the following video in which a crowd of 18,000 sings the Canadian anthem at the gold medal hockey game at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver CanadaIf that doesn't make you choke up , nothing can. 
Move the cursor to 1:16 minutes to get the song. The first part is simply cheering

2.  We never say die
Canadians never give up on one another. When we were at 1-2 at the Olympics, people were still supporting us. – gold-medal skip Brad Jacobs on the video sent to Sochi by a Grade 3 class in his home town, inspiration when the team needed it most
3. The maple leaf on travellers’ backpacks from all over
 While in Ireland, I met two people with Canadian flags on their packs and asked them what part of Canada they were from. They said nowhere – they were Americans who had discovered that showing the Canadian flag earned them special treatment. It’s about respect. It’s a fulfilling sense of pride and a great sense of identity. As a Canadian, we just know we live in the best country. – Heather Moyse, Olympic gold medalist in the bobsleigh who has also represented the country in rugby
4. We play to win
We’ve been known for a long time for being happy to compete. “Oh, we made it to the Olympics.” “Oh, we qualified for this tournament.” The one thing about the Vancouver Olympics I remember is an attitude shift, that we’re not just there to compete – we’re there to win. It just carried on in London and Sochi. – Olympic soccer striker Christine Sinclair  continue reading 147 reasons to love Canada, Globe readers and writers

147 More Reasons Canadians love this country 
  •  Watch and listen carefully. Make notes if you need to. 
  • How many of these  reasons could you come up with?  How many do you agree with?
Defining Moments:What it Truly Means to Be a Canadian 
 What it means to be Canadian is different for each and every one of us. Macleans Magazine  asked Canadians to share their Defining Canadian Moments. Here are a selection of their stories.
Canadians Died Here 

A few years ago, I went to France with some friends that I have known since childhood to celebrate our 50th birthday.

We are all WW II history buffs so we felt that a tour of Canadian battlefields would be appropriate.

We arrived on Nov 11, 2010 and made our way to Vimy and then to the beach at Dieppe. We met a young couple walking along the beach.While we were chatting with them the young man asked “Are you from England?”. To which we replied “No, we are Canadian.”

He paused for a second and then said “Canadians died here. Welcome to France!”

The Day I Carried a Torch for Canada 
In February 2010 I was chosen to carry the torch for the Olympics. As an Aboriginal woman in her 50s and a mother of six, grandmother of 10, it was a very proud moment for me. I felt very proud to carry the torch for Canada and also to represent the Aboriginal people of Canada. 
My partner Russ, a couple of my children and grandchildren were watching from the side and to see their proud faces as I carried the torch was amazing. To this day I feel this was one of the proudest moments of my life.

Becoming a Snowman by Jackie D. Burlington, Ontario 

After talking about it for months I finally visited my cousins in Guelph, Ontario over the Christmas holidays.

The usual drive took twice as long because of the snow that was piling up on the roads as we drove, causing the car to slip and slide in multiple directions even when driving under 40kmph.

When we arrived, we made the decision to walk downtown to have some drinks at the bar, but after trudging through the snow on our walk downtown we arrived at the bar with wet feet only to have to stand in line for another 25 minutes, snow piling up on our heads and freezing our butts off.

Despite the cold and snow, everyone in line huddled together and made the best of a bad situation, followed by a great night out.

I am proud to be Canadian because we will have a good time regardless of what nature throws our way.

Defining Moments: What It Truly Means to be a Canadian continued  

 We Could Charm the Pants Off a Moose by Ashley Peoples

Oh, you're Canadian! Canadians are so nice!"Yes, yes we are. Keep thinking that world -- but that's not all we are. We are talented, and disciplined and personable, and easy-going and really, just good at life. I love Canada and it's super nice people because while non-Canadians are thinking, "Isn't that cute how she says aboot and pardon mand pardon me," we are busy getting exactly what we want.(continued in Huffington Post)  

 We Are Leaders in Health by  Jason Tetro 
Canada may be better known in the world for hockey and maple syrup but one of the greatest contributions Canada has made to the world is improvement of local and global health.

Most Canadians at one time or another have heard of the name Tommy Douglas. He has been called "The Greatest Canadian" for his pioneering work to improve the quality of all Canadians through the implementation of universal health care, now known as the Canada Health Act. Yet while his achievements have led to the development of medicare worldwide, his contributions came many years after the work of a number of Canadians who changed the face of global health. continued 

Here I Can Question My Own Faith by Farzana-Hassan 

 I am a Canadian Muslim woman and have had the privilege of calling Canada my home since 1984. The opportunities I've been given from this beautiful country far outnumber the minor challenges I faced during my early years here. continued in the Huffington Post
We Tickle Your Funny Bone  By Ross McNab 

Canada is a funny place. I mean "funny - ha ha", not "funny - sheesh." Everyone, everywhere, loves to laugh...Add laughter and that's the perfect date. We may not love to laugh any more than anyone else, but I think we may laugh more. Canadians are funny and they like funny. It's how we see ourselves and how others see us.  continued 

Here are a few more posts filled with reasons people love Canada. They are all worth a read

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