Sunday, July 01, 2007

Happy Canada Day !!!!!!!!!!!

July 1st 2007 marks the 140th Birthday of this fair nation called Canada ... In honour of the day, I would offer the list of the following things I like about Canada ... They are in no particular order, and they are neither definitive, nor limited ...

I love BEING a Canadian ... I love this nation ... and there is MUCH about both to simply adore ... So, consider this a start:

1) Canadian Literature - Margaret Lawrence, Timothy Findley, Farley Mowat, Pierre Berton, Robertson Davies, Margaret Attwood, Roch Carrier, Mordecai Richler, W.P. Kinsella, Thomas King, Nino Ricci, W.O. Mitchell ... the list goes on and on and on ... Old and new, living and gone - they are ALL great!!

2) The Stratford Festival ... even with the likes of William Hutt and Nicholas Pennell gone, it remains a cultural institution and icon with a heritage and history that is unparalleled.

3) Universal Medicare - thanks to Tommy Douglas and the CCF'ers, we enjoy unprecedented Medical care in this country. It might not be perfect, and no one likes waiting lists - but the alternative is far scary than anything our current system can offer on even its worst day !!

4) The Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheiller - If you've been there, you know why ... If you haven't - why NOT ?? It's worth the drive !!

5) Stanley Park in Vancouver - Like The Tyrell, it's one of those places that can only be experienced, not described ... Many of our family memories are tied to Stanley Park: roller blading behind Noahkila pedalling furiously on his training wheels aorund the sea wall, countless visits to the Aquarium, walking the sea wall, Prospect Point ... it's all good.

6) The Parks - National, Provincial, even civic ... from Stratford to Vancouver, from Kingston to Winnipeg, I have been in parks both large and small, and every one of them has been incredible ... I have so many memories associated with time spent in parks - walking, reading, riding my bike, camping, or just hanging out ... I could fill this blog with THOSE memories ... Canada has some absolutely incredible parks.

7) Haida Gwaii - Otherwise known as The Queen Charlotte Islands - Located across the Hecate Strait from Prince Rupert. The Islands known as Haida Gwaii, are utterly breath-taking. I visited them once for a Presbytery meeting when I served in Bella Coola, and I was awestruck by the tiny corner of them that I saw ... I've wanted to go back and see more ...

8) Victoria, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal and Ottawa ... I love Canada's cities. Even TO could have made the list, but what I thought about were the trips I've taken to these cities, the sites I've taken in, the meals I've enjoyed and the time I've spent in the older, downtown sections of these grand cities ... They may not have the pulse of a New York, but they have a charm that is distinctly Canadian.

9) The Museum of Civilization in Ottawa ... It is an incredible place to visit. It provides you with an overview of Canada's history, heritage and breadth, all under one roof. A favourite corner of mine is the Bella Coola (Nuxalk) Long House in the Great Hall ... a video within shows a potlatch feast from the fall before I arrived in Bella Coola - I've stood and watched the video and wiped away tears from my eyes ... it brings back too many memories ...

10) Bilingualism - Whether it is in Quebec, in St Boniface, or in Kapuskasing, where I once was the ONLY anglophone in the McD's ... it is an amazing thing to live in a country where Bilingualism is the RULE of the day ... It speaks of our tolerance, and our acceptance. We're not perfect, and there are more than enough unilingual red-necks out there (although I think with most rednecks, you're hard pressed to call them lingual at all ...). But Canada has tried pretty hard to be a Bilingual Country, and we would be much poorer if we lost Quebec and its rich cultural and linguistic heritage ...

11) The CBC - I am a CBC fan ... I can't say enough about CBC, and I listen to CBC Radio One constantly, and watch CBC Television for something OTHER than hockey. One of the great cultural institutions we possess as Canadians is the CBC. Most people in the urban sprawl fail to realize what a resource it is - but when you live miles away from any other radio or tv signal, CBC is a link to the world ... The luminous personalities like the late and very great Peter Gzowski are like trusted family members ... They come into our homes and share their stories, then leave us laughing, crying and thinking ... I LOVE the CBC !!

12) Pierre Elliot Trudeau - Any nation that boast of a Prime Minister the calibre of Pierre Elliot Trudeau joins the ranks as a great nation. The current pool of political leadership causes me to yearn for one like PET ... he was witty, intelligent, sharp tongue, and most of all PROUD to be a CANADIAN !!!! The image of Pierre, wearing his buckskin jacket and paddling a canoe is indelible in the minds of those who grew up in the era when he was our leader ... Love him or hate him ... you had to admit he knew what it meant to be Canadian !!!

HAPPY CANADA DAY !!!

3 comments:

Candygirlflies said...

Hey, Rev...

And I DON'T mean to be picky here... I agree with everything you've said...

But, how about giving us a list of Canadians who are STILL ALIVE and worth mentioning??!! Apart from a couple of the authors, all the Great Canadians you mentioned were... EXPIRED!!

I would be very interested to see your top 10 list of great Canadians who are Still Living... besides ME, of course...

rev. shawn said...

Hmm ... by my count the list of authors is a 50/50 split of living and gone to glory ...

But there are many great living Canucks too !!

Maybe I'll post something later ...
rest assured, our current PM won't be making the list ...

itzktb said...

Wish I loved being American. Oh well.