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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Oh, Canada

Of all of the places I recently traveled to in Europe, one of the most exciting sights for me to see was in the picture on the left.

What? No Eiffel Tower? No Big Ben? No Little Mermaid? Versailles? Juno Beach? Stonehenge?

Oh, yes, I loved all of those historic, amazing, and beautiful places. But the picture you see here is Labrador. It is the first view we had of Canadian soil on our way home.

Canada.

Compared to the UK, France and Denmark where I recently traveled, Canada is so young. It is so vast. It is so...well...CANADIAN.

I have never seen Labrador with my own eyes before. That picture reminds me of how much of Canada is so remote and void of humans. It also reminds me of how little I've seen of my own country, not because I haven't wanted to but because...well, where do you start? In Europe, you can drive for a couple of hours and be in another country. In Canada, that'll take you about 1/4 the way through one province.

I have driven from Victoria, B.C. to Calgary, Alberta a couple of times before. Once, I took the ferry from Victoria to the mainland, hopped in a truck with my sister and drove to Calgary all in one day. That was literally exhausting. I left home at 5:30am and we arrived in Calgary just after midnight. Europeans don't even know what that means.

On our recent flight back from Europe, we had a 7 hour layover in Toronto. My husband suggested we visit the CN Tower to pass the time, and I had never been there before, so off we went. As we looked out from the top of the tower, I couldn't help but think that, although the CN Tower is higher than the Eiffel Tower, the view wasn't nearly as interesting to me. Toronto is a giant, flat grid of high rises as far as the eye can see. Paris is full of low, old buildings with streets going every which way.

Paris, France

Toronto, Canada
But then again, having lived in Vancouver, I'm used to the look of a big, modern Canadian city. London and Paris and Copenhagen were so completely different for me. Some might say that the towers in Toronto are all so unique and each have their own beauty. I would say that the buildings in Paris have more charm and personality. But of course, Paris has its own section of high rises.

My husband also reminds me that I haven't seen Canadian cities like Montreal where there are communities like that one he grew up in, Boucherville, which is celebrating is 350th birthday this year.

He's right. And that just makes me curious to see more of the country I call home.

Today is Canada's 150th birthday. And although this country certainly isn't perfect, we still have plenty of problems to solve and pasts to reconcile, I can honestly say that I'm proud to be from this country. I appreciate our diversity, our open-mindedness, generosity, and our respect for each other and the soil we stand on. I enjoy the positive way the rest of the world views us. My hope for my country is that we continue to go forward, building on that positive energy, and maybe even become an example to others along the way.

And so from my polite but jubilant Canuck heart, Happy 150th Birthday Canada!


“There are no limits to the majestic future which lies before the mighty expanse of Canada with its virile, aspiring, cultured, and generous-hearted people.” » Sir Winston Churchill