Tomorrow is Canada’s 150th birthday. That means that as a country, we have existed for 150 years. It’s nice to know that we have been around for that long. But what exactly does it mean to be Canadian?
As someone who travels a lot, I am often asked things about being Canadian. What is the temperature actually like here? What’s the deal with your “free” medical care? Are Canadians really that friendly?
It’s got me thinking about what Canadian means to me. It’s not a topic I think about a lot because honestly, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my country as a whole. I know what I’m like and what my friends are like, but I don’t really ever think about what it’s like to be a Canadian.
So for me, here’s my own interpretation of what it means to be Canadian. It may differ than yours, but we’re all allowed to have varying degrees of opinion.
Canadians are open and welcoming. We don’t care where you come from, what you look like, or what your background is. We embrace cultures of all kinds and want to know more about them.
As a people, and as a culture, Canadians care about each other and our well being. We are not an “everyone for themselves” type of culture. We’d rather help each other out and be there for one another, then turn our backs and take care of just ourselves. We embrace the idea that it does not make us weak to help others but instead makes us stronger because we strive for the greater good. We accept that some will take advantage but that is a small price to pay to make sure that everyone who is a Canadian gets taken care of when they need it. It also means that we extend our hand in friendship to those who need it and are proud to do so.
Being Canadian to me also means we do our best to see the good in others and not assume their intentions are malevolent. We know there are bad things in the world, and even next door. But as a Canadian, I’d rather think that things are better than worse, even when I know that might not be the case. I’d like to think that Canadians in general are more “glass half full” than “glass half empty”.
Canadians are very patriotic but choose to be more subdued about our patriotic nature. We’re very passionate about how much we love our country, but we don’t wear that enthusiasm on our sleeves. Instead, we show that affection when we need to or want to, but we don’t ever flaunt it to others. I tend to think that Canadians take the “less is more” approach when it comes to showing our love of our country.
Canadians love to party. Whether it’s having some drinks at the beach, kicking back at a campfire, or having a bunch of folks over to hang out in the kitchen, Canadians do love themselves a good party.
To be Canadian is to be welcomed around the world without judgement. When a Canadian visits another country and others there learn where they are from, smiles are abound and open arms are extended. In many ways it feels like when we travel to foreign countries, many of the locals see Canadians as almost an extended family instead of strangers.
I consider myself extremely lucky and fortunate to have been born in a country like ours. Take a moment tomorrow and embrace all that Canada has to offer. We really are the luckiest people around.