This Wednesday July 1st 2015 Canada will reach the ripe old age of 148. (Which is young even if we changed it to dog years! For gentle perspective, our neighbours to the south are 238 years old this year.) We are very large nation, with very few residents. Our population is 35,725,930 as of right this very second. 17,724,716 of them are men and at almost equal value women ring in at 18, 001,214. Seems like a whole lot of people right? That is until you start comparing apples, I mean California, the STATE, has 37,253,956 people in it. HOLY MOLY!
We have a vast land which such different topography from tip to tip. Ranging from the borders of the US in the south all the way up to the Arctic Circle in the north and is filled with diverse vibrant cities which include North America’s fourth largest city, Toronto, to predominantly French speaking and fabulous Montreal and Quebec city. Then of course you touch the coast lines and find Vancouver and Halifax – whom could not be more different representing our coastal communities. Then there that massive amount of protected wilderness, the Great Lakes, The Hudson River, the rocky mountains and so much more.
The Hudson Valley
Seeing that we are so small, you would think that perhaps we have not made too big of impact on the world, yet that would be wrong. We gave the Space Shuttle the ability to grab things right out of space in order to further humanities need for information, we have saved millions of lives with our peace keeping efforts and our generosity to support those less fortunate, and we advocate for human rights and seem to move on them a little quicker to ensure we bring forth change. We have gay marriage, abortion rights, no death penalty, freedom of speech, health care, cannabis clinics, pretty damn good benefits, if you don’t count the bureaucracy, and we have never had a world war on our lands. Not too shabby.
Even though we are so small, we have managed to nurture some of the world’s greatest talent as well, and since this is an article about CANADA let’s start with hockey…..ahem.
The Rocket Maurice Richard, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe , Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Guy Lafeur, Bobby Hull….I could keep going for at least 100 more names. Music?? Let’s see…well let’s start with the obvious such as the massively successful artists like Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Nelly Furtado, Gordon Lightfoot, Michael Buble, Avril Lavigne, Nickelback, KD Lang, Tragically Hip, Triumph, Lover Boy, The Band…and last but not least - Justin Bieber.....and the list continues.
The Great - Joni Mitchell
We cultivate diversity, celebrate it even. We welcome all that need a better place and we are fair by nature. I think we try to be anyways. We may be known as the land that apologizes, but I think it may just come from the fact that we have so much. The idea of offending, of putting someone out, seems unfair to us. And we are sorry. We should totally know better.
This week hundreds of people will be preparing for the Citizenship Ceremony, a passage, an honour that all who are not born here find as their rite of passage. This week there are special ceremonies so you can become a citizen on Canada’s Birthday. There is also Citizenship week during October where thousands will soon belong to us.
On that day every able bodied/minded person over the age of 14 will say these words, with their hand over their heart, and I hope a smile on their face. To them, I say, welcome home.
And Happy Canada Day.
"I swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen." Canadian Citizenship Oath