Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday

Hurray — On July 1, Canada celebrates its 150th birthday!

All Canadians should celebrate.  Just for fun, I’ll list my 150 reasons for celebration.

  1. A great place to live.  I would not choose another country to call home.
  2. Indigenous heritage.  Canada has a horrible history with indigenous peoples yet, I believe that most indigenous peoples and most Canadians are committed to a more respectful relationship and to reconciliation. We have much to learn and must not repeat past mistakes.
  3. Stable government based on traditions of Westminster.  Sometimes the legislative process is ponderous — yet it works!
  4. We have a Queen, a Governor General, and a Prime Minister!
  5. Safe communities.  We can walk our streets without worry.
  6. Diverse cultures.  Canada is known as the most multi-cultural country in the world.
  7. Two official languages.  Most Canadians know at least a few words and phrases of each language and almost 20% are fluent in French and English.
  8. Besides French and English, Canadians speak over 100 hundred languages.
  9. History of tolerance. Canadians are willing to accept a variety of beliefs, opinions and ideas without animosity.
  10. Religious freedom.  Canadians can freely worship and practise the religion of their choice.
  11. A universal health care system. Too bad most of us take it for granted until we need it. We have great hospitals with skilled doctors and nurses.
  12. Maternity leave.
  13. Paternity leave.
  14. Generous Social programs including Child tax benefit, Employment Insurance, Old Age Security, and the Canadian/Quebec Pension Plan.
  15. Laws to enable physician assisted dying.
  16. Laws to allow abortion.
  17. A Strong public educational system with most provinces providing education to children from kindergarten to the end of high school.
  18. Affordable post secondary education.
  19. Access to world class universities. I’m proud that one of my graduate degrees is from McGill University which is ranked among the top 30 in the world.
  20. Educated population.  The 2011 census data shows that 64% of Canadians have post secondary education.
  21. Progressive attitudes toward climate change.  Canadians understand that global warming is a threat to all of us. It’s taking too long for us to do much about our awareness of the treats to our planet.
  22. Decent standard of living. On most indices, Canada consistently ranks among the top 10 countries in the world.
  23. Banff and Lake Louise.  Both are examples of unsurpassed natural beauty.
  24. Great writers. Alice Munro, Margaret Laurence, Mordecai Richler, Joseph Boyden are some of my favourites.  Who do you like?
  25. Great singers — Leonard Cohen, k.d. Lang, Celine Dion, Gordon Lightfoot, Buffy Sainte-Marie are my favourites. Who do you like?
  26. Sports heroes — Wayne Gretzky, Sydney Crosby, Catronia Le May Doan, Clara Hughes, Cindy Klassen, Elvis Stoyko.
  27. Great women’s soccer players — Christine Sinclair, Sophie Schmitt, Keisha Buchanann.
  28. Great women’s hockey players — Haley Wickenhauser rocked women’s hockey.
  29. Group of seven painters — emulated by artists around the world.
  30. Great theatre — Shaw, Stratford, Soul Pepper plus Blyth and Huron Country for summer stock productions
  31. Qu’appelle Valley — who thinks Saskatchewan has hills and lakes?
  32. Progressive tax structure — Canada has its uber-rich people but there is still a middle class.
  33. Kim Campbell, our first female prime minister.
  34. Tourtiere — my favourite dish from French Canada.
  35. Hudson’s Bay Company — founded before confederation and still a great place for shopping.
  36. National Parks — preserving natural landscapes throughout the country.
  37. Maple syrup — every spring Maple sap is changed into this delicacy.
  38. Maple syrup fudge
  39. Ice-fishing — too bad it happens in the coldest time of the year!
  40. Skiing — cross country and alpine can both be enjoyed in every province.  The world’s best skiers train at Whistler. Mount Tremblant is a fabulous ski destination.
  41. Bald eagles
  42. Loons
  43. Over 600 First Nations communities within the country.
  44. Politeness — Canadians wait their turn; Canadians apologize even when they don’t need to apologize.
  45. Respect
  46. Terry Fox’s fight to conquer cancer had him attempt to run across Canada with one good leg and a crutch.
  47. Beautiful flag

    Celebrate Canada --Canadian Flag -- photo courtesy of Waferboard
    Celebrate Canada — Canadian Flag — photo courtesy of Waferboard
  48. CBC — great radio and good TV. Free music app.
  49. Icebergs
  50. Potash
  51. Gold
  52. Diamonds
  53. Rocky Mountains
  54. The Northwest passage through the Arctic Ocean
  55. Totem poles
  56. Polar Bears
  57. Roots Canada — I love my Roots watch.
  58. Salmon fisheries — on both the Atlantic and Pacific side
  59. Bannock
  60. Thunder Bay’s Sleeping giant
  61. Oil reserves
  62. The culture and wilderness of Nunavut
  63. David Suzuki — our famous environmental activist.
  64. Four distinct seasons
  65. Saskatoon berry pie.  My mother made this treat every year when she picked the Saskatoon berries near our farm.
  66. War veterans — Too often we forget how many Canadians volunteered to protect our freedom.
  67. Great Lakes — especially Lake Huron where our cottage is located and where make summer memories.
  68. St. Lawrence Seaway
  69. Abundant Mosquitoes — pesky things, but part of this country.
  70. National rail system — riding across the country in the dome car is an experience to savour.
  71. Trans Canada Highway — driving across the country is a challenge but there is so much to see.
  72. Tiger Lilies — the provincial flower of Saskatchewan where I was born.
  73. Affordable food from local producers.
  74. Forests
  75. Poutine
  76. Butter Tarts
  77. Beavertails
  78. Nanimo bars
  79. Tim Hortons
  80. Tim Hortons sour cream timbits
  81. Laws that allow same sex marriage,
  82. Legalization of pot — planned for 2018
  83. Stable economy
  84. Reliable banks
  85. Loonies and Toonies and colourful bank notes
  86. Suffragettes — who won the right for women to vote
  87. Laura Secord and her heroism in the war of 1812
  88. Laura Secord white chocolate with almonds
  89. Northern lights
  90. We say ‘sorry’ even when we don’t mean it
  91. Tulips on parliament hill
  92. The real Niagara Falls
  93. Peggy’s Cove
  94. Moose
  95. RCMP
  96. Saskatchewan perogies
  97. Snow birds — Canadians who go south in winter but come back re-energized and grateful to be Canadians.
  98. Canada Geese — sometimes too prolific but beautiful to see in flight.
  99. Canada Border Service guards that say ‘welcome home’ to Canadians returning from abroad.
  100. Toronto Raptors
  101. Skating on the Rideau Canal
  102. Canadian beer
  103. Ontario wine
  104. BC wine
  105. Newfoundland screech
  106. Cod tongues
  107. Gord Downie & The Tragically Hip
  108. Glaciers
  109. Toronto Blue Jays
  110. Toronto’s CN tower
  111. Canadian Football and the CFL
  112. Montreal bagels
  113. Montreal smoked meat on rye
  114. Robert Munsch children’s books
  115. Maude Lewis paintings
  116. Public Libraries — My favourite places with everything from digital borrowing to maker spaces — all free with a library card.
  117. Anne of Green Gables
  118. Pauline Vanier aka Madame Vanier and the Vanier family. I had a great career start in a children’s mental health centre named after Pauline Vanier.
  119. The Canadian Shield
  120. Sunsets on Lake Huron
  121. Small town newspapers
  122. Church suppers
  123. Local legion halls
  124. Meat auctions and meat draws at legion halls
  125. Toronto Raptors
  126. Progress in building a green economy — wind farms, solar, and geothermal energy
  127. Robert Banting’s discovery of insulin and what this drug has meant in saving lives
  128. Canada Goose parkas
  129. Pacific salmon
  130. Atlantic cod
  131. PEI lobster
  132. Nova Scotia blueberries
  133. Canada’s legacy as peace-keepers around the world.
  134. Canadian bacon
  135. Courageous Canadian soldiers who fought at Vimy Ridge.
  136. Abundant fresh water
  137. Atom Egoyan’s films
  138. TIFF — Toronto International Film Festival.  I know people who use their annual vacation days to attend all films.
  139. Hockey
  140. The Stanley Cup
  141. Skating as a great winter sport
  142. James Nasmith — inventor of Basketball
  143. Fred Penner
  144. Astronauts Roberta Bondar and Chris Hatfield
  145. Canadians don’t kill criminals — capital punishment was abolished in 1976.
  146. Caribana
  147. Northern Lights
  148. RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police)
  149. Louis Riel
  150. World class cities — Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver.

Your list might be different from mine but I know in my heart that the world needs more Canada. We’re nice people.  We’re generous people. Let’s get over our Canadian modesty and roar “Happy Birthday Canada”

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