The year 2017 marks the 150th year that Canada has become a nation. This weekend there has been huge celebrations all across the our country. From air shows to car shows to antique and art shows to open air concerts to parades to picnics to barbeques there has been so much reason to celebrate. And of course there was firework displays to be found in cities, towns, neighbourhoods and in people’s back yards all across the nation.
There were so many opportunities to participate on various activities. My main aim for the “Canada Day 150” weekend was simply to participate in a race. Fortunately my local city of Barrie hosts an annual Canada Day race as part of what is known as a street festival called Promenade Days.
Canada means many things to many people. For me there are two things that I really appreciate with of being Canadian. The first is the freedom and peace we enjoy. The Institute of Economics and Peace each year issues a Global Peace Index Report. Based on 22 different indicators a list is compiled of what are the most peaceful and the least peaceful of the 163 countries in the world. Canada ranks in at number 8 in the year 2017. Violence is extremely costly. On the Global Peace Index website it mentions “that the total economic impact of violence was $14.3 trillion last year in 2016, equivalent to 12.6% of the gross world product. This breaks down to $1953 for each and every person living on earth”.
The second thing that I love with being a Canadian are our unique ways and customs that define us as uniquely Canadian. We wear toques, we drink pop, eat chocolate bars and sit on a couch. Our milk is sold in bags, our $1 currency is called a “loonie”. And we say “Eh”!
Some of the foods that are uniquely Canadian foods that you should try if you were to visit our country are Ketchup flavoured potato chips, Kraft dinner, Montreal smoked meats, our local maple syrup, peameal bacon, Nanaimo bars, bumbleberry pie and our famous artery clogging poutine found at any of the numerous “chip wagons” found throughout the country.
Only recently I discovered that butter tarts is another item that is uniquely Canadian. Every week my sister bakes many dozens of butter tarts that she sells on Saturday mornings at the local farmer’s market in Barrie. She opens her table at 8:00 AM and tarts go very fast, usually sold out by 9:00 AM. So if you want some, you should get there early. She uses a family recipe that came from my great grandmother, passed on to my grandmother, passed on to my mother, passed on to my sister which she knows from memory for her baking.
We are very blessed in Canada to have an abundance of fresh water. Fresh water is so extremely precious. Everyone really needs to be conscious of its conservation and protection. One of the cool things about the area I live is that the “world’s longest freshwater beach” called Wasaga Beach, is only a mere 25 kilometres away to the west.
One last item that makes us very unique as Canadians is the use (or overuse) of the word “sorry“. This is a uniquely Canadian phenomenon, and I’ll be honest, I end up saying those words so often. At yesterday’s “Canada 150” race a runner stepped on my toes and I called out “Sorry, my foot was in the way”. Someone cuts you off on a crowded street? “Sorry!” A waitress gets my order wrong? “I’m am so sorry miss. I ordered poutine instead of fries. I am really sorry about that!” At a funeral I will nearly always say “I am sorry for your loss” to the grieving family. It certainly does not mean I was admitting responsibility for the death of the loved one.
Problems would arise though, as everyone says sorry whether they are at fault or not. Suppose you were rear ended while driving to work, and you apologise to the person who just hit you. “Sorry for getting in your way, my friend. You must be in a hurry!”. In a court of law your apology might seem like you were at fault.
In 2009 an “Apology Act” was passed as a direct result of Canada’s overuse of the word “sorry”. This has helped clear things up so our apology does not come back to haunt us. In a nutshell the new law stipulates that “an apology is not an admission of fault or liability, but means an expression of sympathy or regret”. I am so sorry for you having to read such a long post. Happy 150th Canada! 🙂