Celebrating Canada's 150th: What It Means To Be Canadian

Happy 150th Birthday Canada! You don't look a day over 149.

Today, on July the 1st, 2017, Canada turns 150 years old! Yes, we are a relatively young nation, but I believe Canada is the greatest country in the world. Though, I may be a tad biased. However, that being said, here are the facts: Canada has boasted the desirable title (for many years now) Second Best Country in the World by the World Economic Forum, right after our good pal Switzerland. In addition to this, Canada is the World's Most Educated Country, with over half of our citizens possessing post-secondary degrees, according to Time. We are also very happy people, coming in at number 7 worldwide, according to Forbes. There you have it. Maybe I'm not so biased, after all. Perhaps life IS better in Canada.

I am a proud Canadian and had, what I would call, a very Canadian upbringing. Summers were always spent up at the cottage; jumping into cold, picturesque lakes and sitting by warm, crackling campfires (whilst gobbling down s'mores, of course). When the bitter winter months eventually came (and boy did they show up), tobogganing and skiing were wintertime highlights, allowing us Canucks to embrace the inevitable five months of snow in a slightly more enjoyable way. Every four years, we would come together as a nation in front of our TV sets to cheer on team Canada in the Winter Olympics, another winter highlight and, frankly, the best thing on TV. I have fond memories of waking up to the smells (and sounds) of bacon sizzling and pancakes browning on summer mornings, and falling asleep on the couch to the animated voices of hockey commentators announcing game-winning goals (I admit, I was never that into hockey). The tooth fairy always left toonies and loonies, our milk came in bags (and still does), and Timbits were a classic Sunday morning treat. 

Now, as an adult, I spend a lot of my time away from Canada. While attending school in NYC and spending a lot of my free time in England, I have come to realise how wonderful Canada is, and how much I cherish my time while back here. One of my most favourite feelings is coming back home. When I see the CN Tower in the distance as I touch down at Pearson, my heart instantly warms. There is something so grounding about the experience; I don't think I will ever tire of it. In recent years, the world has seen a lot of strife; strife due to disagreement, misconception, intolerability, and ultimately, hatred. However, in Canadian culture, we do not judge a person by the colour of their skin, the religion they practice, or who they choose to love, but rather by what's inside and what the character of an individual reveals. This, to me, is what it means to be a Canadian; to accept, to love, and to seek out only the best in people. I truly believe if the world was more like Canada in this way it would be a more peaceful and united place. 

Now, go make yourself a generous Caesar, serve up some poutine, and raise a glass to this wonderful country. A country based on community, acceptance, and diversity. A vast country of jaw-dropping beauty from coast to coast. Finally, a country filled with some of the most talented, friendly, and passionate people I have ever known. I love you, Canada! You will always be home.