If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that I was in Ottawa this past weekend for Canada Day celebrations. Having lived there for 10 years, I know that it is the place to be on July 1st!
My last day of work before our trip to Ottawa, I was on a work call. My colleague on the other line said, “I was listening to the radio today and they were talking about what makes people proud to be Canadian, so I’m gonna ask you.” I was a little caught off guard to be honest. Such a simple question, but something I truthfully take for granted. After a moment’s thought, I responded “We have a pretty awesome flag!” Not quite the answer she was looking for.
This got me thinking though. Yes, our flag is awesome. It is recognized worldwide and the bold red and maple leaf set our flag apart. While some flags, when hung upside down or sideways, become a different country’s flag, ours stands alone, distinguished from the others. But there was so much more that makes me proud to be Canadian.
The Land of Eh!: Along with our bold maple leaf flag, something else that identifies us to the world is the use of the term “Eh”. For whatever reason, some Canadians don’t like this stereotype. But I wholeheartedly embrace it. It is part of my regular dialect. I am proud of my Eh!-Team status. I have been called as being Canadian because of it and let me tell you, it’s a great conversation starter!
Diversity of Language: Another element of the Canadian dialect is our two official languages; English and French. When I first moved to Ottawa for University, I was struck by the diversity of language. Everywhere I went, people were speaking English and French, and many other languages too. How cool that people were having a conversation right beside me and I had no idea what they were saying! Let’s just hope they weren’t talking about me…
Diversity of People: I grew up in a small town in Ontario where there wasn’t much diversity. When I went off to the University of Ottawa, I was exposed to so many different kinds of people. I made my first Jewish friend, I learned what Ramadan was from my floormates, I went to my first gay bar. And I would later meet my now husband, a man born in Indian, who grew up in Tanzania and moved to Canada in highschool. Even the small town I grew up in is changing as more immigrant families move to rural areas. What a fantastic country we live in where our diversity is celebrated.
Weather and Landscape: In the dead of winter, we are usually dying for summer and in the heat of the summer, we run inside for the air conditioning. But how great is it to live in a country where you get snow and sun and rain. We take this for granted and often grumble about the snow, where much of the world will never have the chance to see those magical white flakes.
We are also blessed with an incredible landscape. Trees and hills and waterfalls and great lakes. Cottage country and ski villages and houseboat communities and lots and lots of farm land.
I could go on, but instead I’ll throw the question back to you. What makes you proud to be Canadian? If you aren’t from Canada, what do you like about Canadians?
I’ll leave you with one final thought. Poutine. Poutine makes me proud to be Canadian. Nom nom nom.