It's July 1, the one day Canadians feel it's actually OK to show we're proud to be Canadian. So what is Canadian?
I have pondered this question several times during my six years living in the UK, and my two years in Poland. What is it that makes us so different from our unforgettable neighbours to the south? And are we really that different?
I'm often mistaken for an American, due to my accent. I'm always quick to point out that I am, in fact, from a completely different country. But when people ask me what's the difference, I'm at pains to answer succinctly. Is it that we like hockey? No, Americans have that passion (obsession, some might say) as well. Tim Horton's? Nope, it's spread across the States. Crazy cold winters and lots of snow? Again, it's like that in the US, too. Perhaps it's the way we say 'about' (I've never understood that one, but apparently it's different!).
I'm not sure Canadian is something that can be defined. Perhaps it's in the way we react to events that find their way through to our little peaceful piece of the world. Like the 9-11 tragedy, when the people of Gander, Newfoundland -- a town of only 9,900 people -- took in 39 trans-Atlantic flights forced to land there, with over 6,600 passengers and crew, opening up their own homes and even organizing sight-seeing outings for those stranded.
Or, indeed, in the referendum of 1995, when the Quebecois voted on the possibility of Quebec independence. Over 100,000 Canadians from across the country travelled to Montreal to show their desire for Quebec to stay Canadian. And it did, with a narrow majority voting to remain in the country.
I don't know what it is but I do know this: I'm proud to be Canadian! And many thanks to Lynn for making this Canada Day particularly special by mentioning me on her Great Reads by Canadians post! I'm so honoured and thrilled to be in such great company.