Canadian, eh

One of the most commonly asked questions by Americans when visiting Niagara Falls in July is “Why do Canadians celebrate July 4th with us?”

So to help our neighbours to the south we Canadians don’t celebrate Independence Day with you on July 4th. We have our own holiday on July 1st. It’s called Canada Day.

What does it mean to be Canadian?

One of the most commonly asked questions by Americans when visiting Niagara Falls in July is “Why do Canadians celebrate July 4th with us?”

We Canadians actually have our own holidays too and don’t celebrate Independence Day with you on July 4th. We celebrate our own holiday on July 1st. It’s called Canada Day.

While other powerful countries in the world chose fearsome predators or proud and noble animals as their national symbol, Canada chose the beaver, a relative nice animal and the second largest rodent in the world.

We don’t have pennies! Take a moment and enjoy the fact that you don’t have to spend your Saturday afternoon rolling up a bucket of pennies that will amount to about 10 dollars.

Ketchup Chips are hard to find in other countries around the world. Same goes with All Dressed.

The federal government’s maple syrup reserve! Our country has a monetary system where our money’s value is directly linked to maple syrup. That may not be true, but in Quebec they do have a warehouse with 38-million pounds of maple syrup stored and valued at over $100-million to help keep that market afloat.

Universal Healthcare, if you’ve ever been frustrated with having to sit for 3 hours in the ER waiting room to get your cough checked, one day you will find comfort after spending 4 days in a hospital bed and owing little to nothing for it.

Terrible winters mean more fashion options that they don’t have in California. Remember that feeling of immense joy and confidence you felt after finding the perfect winter coat?

All Canadians are born with the ability to skate on ice. While children in other countries around the world have to work hard to learn the skill, Canadians are born with the ability and grace already instilled.

That chicken dance song that’s played at every wedding was originally written in Switzerland in the 50s, but the popular polka version everyone plays was recorded by a Canadian band called The Emeralds.

Canada’s equalization payments share the good fortunes of the wealthy provinces with those less fortunate. Canada is a society that cares for all through its publicly funded Medicare system of healthcare.

While most Canadians live in a narrow corridor hugging the US border, one thing they must never be considered is American. Indeed, when polled on national identity, Canadians defined themselves by characteristics such as free healthcare (53%) and by being more polite than their southern neighbours (15%).

Bilingualism, a political priority set under Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau in the 1960s and 70s, is a core element of the country’s identity. Today, 17.4% of Canadians are able to conduct a conversation in both languages.

It’s the kind of country where brass bands, not tanks, lead the national holiday parades.

It’s the kind of country that sends fireworks, not missiles, into the sky.

It’s the kind of country that’s as likely to apologize for a centuries-old military victory as chest-thump about it.

And it’s the kind of country that embraces an inclusive, even self-deprecating brand of patriotism instead of the narrow, virulent version of nationalism infecting so much of today’s world. That achievement is as worth celebrating this July 1st as the anniversary itself.