Friday, July 01, 2005

Happy Birthday To The Greatest Country In The World

On July 1st, Canada celebrates its 138th birthday!

I am a proud Canadian every year, because I was lucky enough to come shooting out of the birth canal right in the middle of the most beautiful and prosperous country to grace the globe. Only 30 million out of the 6 billion inhabitants of this Earth can claim to be so lucky, and I am honoured to be counted among them.

I am proud to be from a country where peace keeping is valued over war mongering; where health care is a right, not a privilege; where people of different ethnicities, cultures, and religions stand shoulder to shoulder as a mosaic instead of melting pot; and this year in particular I have PRIDE in my country because the bill has passed to change the constitution, redefining family, and granting equal rights to all Canadian citizens.

On July 1st we check our quiet patriotism at the door and become unabashed and fervent with love for our country. We welcome the long weekend. Barbecues will blaze in backyards. Flags will flap, neighbours will congregate to compare sunburns, and the beer will be consumed in such massive quantities that you'd swear we'd all been dying of thirst. But no, it is only the Canadian way.

At night, families will drag their lawn chairs and bug spray to the park. Children will light sparklers and pester their parents for red and white cotton candy. We will stand and sing our National Anthem together, half in English, half in French. The fireworks will start, and most people will watch in quiet awe at the impressive display.

When it's all over, the streets will become clogged with every car trying to exit at the same time, while streams of pedestrians pour out of the park, sticky toddlers in tow. We'll all head to the one place in town that serves ice cream, and we'll all wait politely in line, waving and smiling at each other like idiots, savouring the fact that there are still 2 more days off, and that the beer store will reopen tomorrow morning, restocked and waiting.

Have I lived in Canada all my life? Not yet, but I plan to.

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