Happy Canada day! Today my home and native land turns 149! So young when compared to many other countries in the world, but still rich in history and full of culture and life. No matter where I am in the world for shorter trips or longer experiences, Canada has always been home. I’m always proud to tell people I’m from Canada when asked during my travels.
I’m lucky enough to have been to 7 provinces and even drove from Vancouver to Quebec City one summer. I’ve seen much of this vast country, but I feel like there is only more to explore. Canada is pretty awesome and to celebrate Canada Day, here are a few reasons why I love Canada so much:
The diversity of landscape and lush wilderness
Each of the regions of the country looks so different from one another. The summer after high school I set off on a cross-country trip from Vancouver to Quebec City with my orchestra, each night performing a concert in a new city. Along the way, we stopped in historic sites and big cities alike. You can only really appreciate the vastness and the diversity of landscape of the country when you’ve taken it in slowly.
And it’s not just the diversity that makes me love Canada. The whole country is beautiful. There are so many amazing natural attractions to discover in our backyard. It’s so easy to just get away from the noise of the city and be completely surrounded by quiet.
It’s no surprise that I love my hometown of Vancouver best, but the rest of the cities across Canada are pretty awesome too. From cosmopolitan Toronto to historic Quebec City to the quaint cities of the Maritimes, there is something for everyone.
As a traveler, one thing I’m definitely grateful for is my passport and the fact that the Canadian passport can get me to so many places in the world. According to the 2016 Visa Restrictions Index, Canadian passport holders can visit 172 countries and territories visa-free or with visa on arrival making us 6th in terms of travel freedom (tied with Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, South Korea and Switzerland). Not to mention, they’re physically pretty cool too when you put it under a blacklight.
You can feel like you’re in a foreign country without leaving it
But even if you don’t leave the country, you can still have a completely different experience. The province of Quebec feels so foreign to me. With its French influences, it can be easy to think you’ve flown to Europe, except you haven’t. Especially coming from the West Coast, it feels completely different, except I get to still use familiar money and my cell phone works there too.
Our patriotism but only when needed
Compared to our southern neighbours, most people would not consider Canadians patriotic at all, but just wait until it its the gold medal hockey game of the winter Olympics and the game is tied. Everyone is cheering on the boys in red. Our patriotism comes out every so often and it brings the country together. We’re unabashedly proud to call Canada home, but we’re just not in your face about it. Most of the time at least.
Our tolerance and acceptance
This is one of the biggest things I love about being able to call myself Canadian is the country’s tolerance and acceptance of everyone. We’ve welcomed thousands of refugees from Syria. Same-sex marriages have been legal in Canada since July 20, 2005, making Canada the fourth country to do so.
And it’s not even just me singing praises about my home. Canada has been named the most tolerant country in the world and the second most progressive country only after Finland. That’s certainly something to love.
Is it too late now to say sorry?*
Canada is one of the few places in the world where you can walk into someone and they will apologize first. True story. I do this all the time. Even when I was living abroad, I would apologize first. You can take the Canadian out of Canada, but the Canadianism is so embedded.
*Yes, Justin Bieber is also Canadian.
How can I not mention food for a reason why I love Canada? Home of poutine, maple syrup, and Caesars. It’s true there isn’t really a clear-cut idea of what makes up Canadian food, but that in itself is so Canadian. Because of our diversity of people from all over the world, our food is from all over the world. Sure, there are bigger communities in certain parts of the country depending on where immigrants settled, but in general, there is so much good food across the country.
Our Prime Minister is pretty cool
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 8, 2013
And it seems like everyone else loves him too. ‘Nuff said.
Need some more reasons to love Canada? This graphic from Canadian Affair sums it up nicely:
Sure, Canada may have its problems (ahem, looking at our climate change policies in particular), but it’s a pretty great place to call home. Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians. Let’s get out there and enjoy that beautiful wilderness together.