Happy Canada Day there eh! A great day to celebrate a really good nation. So fine a country is Canada that if you’re not a citizen of the Great White North or never lived here, you should want to be Canadian. Let me give you just a few things to love about Canada:
- Maple syrup – seriously, where would your pancakes and waffles be without a good splash of Canadian maple syrup?
- Hockey – yes, Boston may now have the Cup but its Canada’s game (we do have the gold medal!)
- RCMP – come on, red serge screams Canada.
- Comedy – can you say Rick Mercer, Dan Ackroyd, John Candy, Second City, Jim Carrey, Loren Michaels, Phil Hartman, Mike Myers, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Mary Walsh, Russell Peters. Need I continue? Canadians know how to not take themselves too seriously.
- Universal healthcare – yes, I’m waiting over seven months for an MRI on my knees but I love it that healthcare is accessible to all Canadians. Thank you Tommy Douglas.
- Music – homegrown Canucks regularly produce stunningly fabulous music, much of it receiving little acclaim while some is properly celebrated. The list is far too long but here’s a few – Ron Sexsmith, Arcade Fire, Leonard Cohen, Glen Gould, Bruce Cockburn, The Weakerthans, Oscar Peterson, Natalie McMaster, Steve Bell, The Wailin’ Jennys, The New Pornographers, Great Lake Swimmers …
- Neil Young – a category on his own.
- The CBC – I know some like to loathe the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, but here is a pioneer and leader in very fine public broadcasting. Think of Mr. Dress-up, the Friendly Giant, Q, Hockey Night in Canada, The Vinyl Cafe, Ideas, Concerts on Demand (check out this one from Ron Sexsmith), Definitely not the Opera – where else do you get such incredible content? And I can’t tell you how much my life is better because of the morning show with Bob Mackowycz and the drive home with Rich Terfry, such a brilliant change from the inane top 40 drivel on the rest of the radio.
- The Group of Seven
- Yousuf Karsh – perhaps the finest portrait photographer.
- The canoe – whether practicing your j-stroke or learning to simply not tip over, the canoe experience is an essential part of the Canadian experience.
- Geography – the sometimes harsh but beautiful Canadian landscape is woven into the fibre of the nation’s soul.
- Winter – what is Canada without a good winter to complain about – the weeks of minus forty, blizzards and ice storms, snow that stays too long, frost that comes to early, it all makes you hardy. And nothing better than coming into a warm home from a frigid day of winter.
- A treasure of letters – Margaret Atwood, Yann Martel, Pierre Berton, Margaret Laurence, W.O. Mitchell, Alice Munro, Mordecai Richler, Michael Ondaatje …
- Diversity – the great Canadian experiment in multi-culturalism, awkward and uncomfortable as it might be at times, is a beautiful idea that holds great hope for a fractured world.
If you’re not Canadian, you should really want to be one. And to hype you up and make you want to be Canadian even more, enjoy one of the great pieces of Canadian rhetoric from Joe Canadian and his “I am Canadian” rant.