It’s summertime. School has just let out for the year, and that can only mean one thing- it’s Canada Day! In honour of this festive occasion, I have compiled a list of my top ten reasons why I love being Canadian:
10. Brown sugar pie. You have not lived until you have tasted this sweet delicacy. My dear Granny first made it for me many years ago and I have loved it ever since. It contains a delicious, brown sugary filling that is surrounded by flaky pie crust. It is very sweet, so it’s not something you can eat a lot of- it is best served in small quantities, but even a few bites will satisfy any sugary cravings.
9. Seasons. As much as I may complain about winter, there is something to be said for living in a climate with four distinct seasons. Here in southern Ontario, we get crisp, white snow in the winter; warm springs when the flowers bloom and green leaves sprout on the trees; hot and humid summer days when you are refreshed by a dip in a cold lake or a pool; and beautiful autumns when the air is cooler and we are treated to the brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges of the trees.
8. Terry Fox. A few years ago, there was a movement to name the Greatest Canadian. Terry Fox got my vote. In 1980, this inspiring young man decided to run across on the country on his prosthetic leg (he lost his leg to bone cancer) to raise money for cancer research. Unfortunately, his cancer returned and he was unable to complete his Marathon of Hope. Less than a year later, he passed away. To say that his legacy lives on is an understatement. Every year, across the country, schools and communities host Terry Fox runs, and raise money for cancer research in his name. I doubt there is a Canadian who doesn’t know who Terry Fox is. The image of him starting his run on the East Coast, dipping his prosthetic leg into the Atlantic Ocean, is one that is imprinted on the minds of every Canadian.
7. Poutine. It’s fries, cheese, and gravy. What else is there to say?
6. Anne of Green Gables. Oh, Anne (with an ‘e’). That lovable redhead was a staple of my childhood, in both the book and in the television adaptation starring Megan Follows. Anne’s adventures on Prince Edward Island were my adventures, and I longed to have red hair just like her.
5.Polka Dot Door. Another Canadian television staple. I loved this show as a small child, and my sister and I would look forward to watching it every day. What would Polkaroo get up to this week? What did Humpty, Dumpty, Marigold, and Bear have to say today?
4. Maternity leave. Here in Canada, we are very lucky to have a year-long maternity leave available to every working mother (as long as you have worked at least 600 hours in the past year). And in fact, it is not just limited to moms- dads are able to split the leave with their partners if they choose to do so. Now, you certainly aren’t going to become rich living off these benefits, but it’s something to help families through their baby’s first year of life. And knowing that your employer has to hold your position for you while you are on leave is a big relief as well. Is this system perfect? No. But it is a lot more than many parents around the world have access to, and I’m very grateful for it.
3. Hockey. Even though it has been around 20 years since a Canadian team claimed the Stanley Cup, there is no doubting Canada’s dominance in this sport on the world stage. We won both gold medals in men’s and women’s hockey at the Olympics this year, and Sidney Crosby’s OT winning goal at the 2010 Olympic gold medal game may go down as one of the greatest moments in hockey history.
2. Maple syrup. No compilation of Canada’s greatest offerings would be complete without maple syrup. I’m talking about pure, sweet, delicious maple syrup. On French toast, pancakes, waffles, and infused into bacon, salmon, muffins, cookies- it’s to die for. I even know people who drink it straight out of the bottle- it’s THAT good.
And the number one thing I love most about being Canadian:
UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE! I consider myself extremely blessed to live in a country where health care is provided to every citizen. There are services available to me and my family that we may not have access to if we lived elsewhere. At the very least, accessing these services would potentially put us on the brink of bankruptcy. Now, our health care isn’t free- the funding for it comes from tax dollars, but I’m happy to pay a higher tax rate and know that whatever happens, we will get the care we need. I have complained in the past about the wait times and some of the frustrations in dealing with our health care system- it’s definitely not perfect and there’s room for improvement, but the reality is that Canadians are pretty lucky to have universal access to have quality health care. It is something that many people around the world can only dream of.
So put your feet up on the chesterfield, crank up the a/c so you can put on a toque, crack open a two-four of beer or pop or maybe a double-double, gobble up those Timbits that cost you a toonie, and celebrate, eh! Happy Canada Day!!