Multiculturalism is a point of pride in Canada. We need to protect it. Credits: Getty Images
Canada's multiculturalism sets us apart as a nation, and it's a value we need to protect.
Lately, in Toronto, I've been seeing posters that are provoking people to think not only about what it means to be a citizen of this city but also what it means to be Canadian.
The ad campaign features a photo of a 30-something white male and a brown-skinned young woman wearing a hijab. The caption above his head reads, "Go back to where you came from." The three-word rebuff above her head scarf says, "Where, North York?"
In other posters, there's a white female confronting a Muslim woman, who retorts she's from another part of Toronto.
Canada is one of the most tolerant countries in the world, with Toronto the epicentre of its diversity. The ads are well-placed in public spaces and transit hubs, and the slogan—"Muslims are part of Toronto"—is a much-needed reminder to uphold the values of inclusivity that make our multicultural country so great.
The campaign, which is a collaboration between the City of Toronto and the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, was launched just before World Refugee Day on June 20. It's also a nod to Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27, and of course, Canada Day.
I am from Palestine and have light brown skin. After the Gulf War ended, my family faced harsh racism and left for Gaza. My mother, who still lives in the Gaza Strip, is a practising Muslim who wears the hijab. So the ad struck a chord with me, as I thought about what it means to be an immigrant and a Canadian.
I have lived in more than four countries. I came to Canada in 1998 to study international development and political science. Five years ago, I chose Canada to be my home; the place where I would raise a family. I consider myself a Palestinian-Canadian and I treasure that no one has questioned my patriotism because I have this dual identity.
When I became a Canadian citizen in an emotionally stirring ceremony five years ago, it was one of the proudest moments of my life. And when my daughter was born just over a year ago, I marvelled that she had won "the birth lottery." Zeina arrived in the world a Canadian citizen, an advantage that will benefit her for her entire life.
My Canadian Citizenship Ceremony five years ago.
Forty-five years ago, Canada was the first country in the world to adopt a formal multicultural policy. The essence of it is, all people—regardless of where they came from—deserve to feel pride in their heritage, and also be accepted and treated as equals in this country.
Today, about 20 percent of our current population was born abroad—the highest percentage among all G8 countries. We shine as the model nation for welcoming Syrian refugees into our communities.
Toronto, where I live, is comprised of a string of vibrant ethnic neighbourhoods. It's estimated that about 140 languages are spoken in this city alone.
We live in a world that is awash in fear, anger and an us-versus-them mentality. The comments in the ads represent all people who doubt the value of multiculturalism.
The campaign is a great reminder that Canada was built for everyone. Embracing other cultures and celebrating differences remain our greatest strengths.
Happy Canada Day to all.
Guest post by Dalal Al-Waheidi, executive director of We Day Global. This is Dalal's eighth post in a series about activism for canadianliving.com.
Photography by Katherine Holland
The ET Canada entertainment reporter and HGTV Canada host is a fitness buff who loves chocolate. Here's a sneak peek at her workout routine, meal ideas and exercise playlist.
Spend time viewing Sangita Patel's Instagram account and you'll notice a pattern: Sprinkled liberally among fashion blogger–worthy glamour shots, photos of celebs (thanks to day job No. 1, ET Canada entertainment reporter) and a pic or two of Canadian design stars (from day job No. 2, host of HGTV Canada's Home to Win) are videos and photos of the TV personality killing it at the gym. Her regular #FitnessTuesday posts o er a sneak peek at her exercise routine, whether it's an at-home arm workout or a group CrossFit class. She started the hashtag as a way to motivate herself and others to meet their health goals, and it's de nitely made an impact on her 17,000-plus followers. "Someone sent me a direct message about how she lost 20 pounds by following #FitnessTuesday!" she says. at's why Sangita is the perfect person to kick o a new column about women living their healthiest lives. Read on for meal ideas, workout songs and the best way to eat a banana, ever.
Favourite exercise: "I normally hate cardio, but I love skipping; I love doing double unders."
Least favourite exercise: "Burpees are the worst, but I know I have to do them because they're so good for you."
What's on her workout playlist: "I love loud music. Eminem's 'Lose Yourself' is one of my favourite songs to work out to."
Hydration tips: "I sip water with lemon all day long."
Breakfast: "I have a protein shake with a shot of espresso in the morning. I take that on the road, and that's my morning start."
Lunch: "I'll usually have an omelette or hard-cooked eggs for lunch, or sometimes I'll have soup because I need more sodium in my diet."
Dinner: "I tend to have some carbs in the evening, which isn't necessarily the right way to do it. But I love basmati rice, and I love quinoa with chicken. I just try to eat before 7 p.m."
Healthy dessert: "One really easy, healthy dessert is taking a banana, slicing it open, spread- ing on some good peanut butter and a little bit of dark chocolate, wrap- ping it in foil and baking it for a few minutes."
Instead of reaching for the phone, try these takeout recipes you can make at home.
Always check packaged food labels for gluten, including ketchup (Heinz is gluten-free), sriracha, fish sauce and broth (homemade stock is best – and safest).
Everyone needs a fried rice recipe in his or her repertoire, because it's great for using up leftovers.
Serve these burgers to people who don't like lentils and they'll soon be converted!
Sub in different vegetables depending on what you have in your crisper to make unique brown rice sushi.
East meets West in these tasty little bites. We've doubled up on the spring roll wrappers, which provides extra crunch and prevents the filling from bursting out.
This recipe can easily be left to simmer away in a slow cooker for eight hours before adding the chicken.
Roasting all but one of the garlic cloves pumps up flavour to the max without having the overpowering taste of raw cloves.
No need for messy, greasy deep-frying with these crunchy baked wings. They make a fun meal for two – just add some sliced baby cukes, carrots and cherry tomatoes for a crunchy, fresh side.
Put down that takeout menu! This healthy spin on beef and broccoli will leave you feeling full and guilt-free.
This Vietnamese favourite is easy to make and is just as suitable for a main course as it is for an appetizer.
The essence of this Vietnamese pho lies in the long-cooking, rich beef broth which forms the base of the soup - the slow cooker is the ultimate tool for the task.
Our foolproof dough delivers the most amazing pizza crust you'll ever taste. The long rising time results in a lovely texture and extra-rich flavour.
This twist on a takeout favourite is made with sautéed chicken instead of greasy fried beef.
There's no need to dial up dinner when you can make this takeout classic – better, cheaper and faster – at home.
Even kids who hate fish with devour these fish fingers, and our Sweet Potato Oven Fries provide enormous amounts of vitamins A and C.
Illustration by Matthew Billington Credits: Illustration by Matthew Billington
|This content is vetted by medical experts |
|This story was originally part of "Stand and Deliver" in the September 2015 issue. |
Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!