|Happy Canada Day!|
Although I am sure you would love to hear more about my interesting sports injury, I prefer to divert our collective attention to a wonderful country that is turning 145 years of age – a relative youngster in terms of other countries’ existence. Yes, you guessed it. It’s Canada’s birthday today. This is a day where everyone feels more Canadian than usual and the hyphen that some regularly utilize next to Canadian to define their personal identity or place of origin takes a backseat. We are all Canadian. Canadian flags dangle throughout every city as if we had all won the Stanley Cup. Just about everyone tosses their worries aside just for one day and joins the festivities. Some find this day as an opportunity to reconcile with a country they have forgotten, realizing how lucky we truly are in comparison to other places on the map. This is one of the reasons why so many of our ancestors decided to come here and give it a try here in the Great White North.
This day as is common every year, the party is really in Ottawa, the Nation’s Capital. Other cities have their own thing going on, but there is really no comparison. To fully experience the entirety of the national holiday, Ottawa is the place. Become part of the massive tidal wave of fellow compatriots dressing the streets in a beautiful sea of red and white. Sing the national anthem on a city bus as your ride for free. If you have never been there on July 1st, you are definitely missing a great show. I always loved as a kid – and even more as an adult - doing the more touristy and traditional activities such as going to Parliament Hill early in the morning. There is nothing more thrilling for your patriotic bones than to see the changing of the guard and sing the bilingual version of our national anthem. I get goose bumps every time. Almost everything seems to be free around town on this day. You will see concerts, cultural shows and museums enjoying record attendance. If you are lucky enough, you’ll catch a great Canadian act performing on Parliament Hill late evening before the fireworks – I remember seeing David Usher perform one year.
Having faced many challenging situations in South America as a young handsome boy – from military coups to urban terrorism – I can really say that I enjoy the peace my country has to offer. I am not sure if there are many places in the world safer than here. It is really odd to rarely hear car alarms, gun shots, explosions or have the military running life in the streets. The main drive we Canadians share to leave our country is to take a vacation on a sandy beach in the Caribbean or exploring the elegance of Europe, but we love our seasons along with their respective outdoor activities. We have the biggest play ground in the world where we can go skiing on the Rockies, ice skating on the Rideau Canal, cycling from Toronto to Niagara Falls, camping relatively anywhere… well you get the gist of it. You will generally find we are all friendly people and willing to open the doors of our homes to visitors, demonstrating to others what we believe is the meaning of hospitality.
|Ottawa showing her guests a great time|
This Canada Day, let us all be thankful to all those who gave their lives to this country and honour their sacrifice by picking up right from where they left off. Our ancestors did a great job placing us on the map – from my good old buddy John Naismith to Sir Isaac Brock – leaving us with their own legacies as proof that we can all make an everlasting impact on our history. We must continue to nurture young minds, teaching them our rich history, our distinguished cultural and traditional heritage in order to continue to achieve great works that can benefit our entire planet. Let us represent the Maple Leaf – not the Toronto NHL franchise that has been a source of much disappointment – to the highest level both at home and abroad. Happy Canada Day to everyone and play safe!