What makes us Canadian? Check out CanadianLiving.com readers' responses below:
"I'm a Canadian not because of my background or even where I was born, but because I believe in Canadian values like peace, tolerance and friendliness. I try to teach these values to my kids so they will pass them down to their kids."
– Cynthia Lee, Calgary
"When I first came to The Netherlands 10 years ago I never really thought that being Canadian would make a difference. I found out soon enough that I was welcome with open arms more so because the town of Zutphen where I live was liberated from the Germans by the brave Canadian soldiers that came here. We even have a bridge here that I walk or drive across quite often that is called the Canadian's bridge. I think this made me even more proud of who I am and where I come from. My daughter Jacqueline always finds it so interesting when I tell her the story and she will in turn go on to tell her children one day."
– Anne Kipping, Zutphen, The Netherlands
"I have lived in Canada all my life and am truly proud! When I travel to other countries such as the USA, Mexico, Cuba, etc. I enjoy myself but am always so happy to 'Come Home' to the land of Red & White. I will never forget my roots here like so many have that have moved to other countries. Canada is known for its vast number of different cultures which makes it unique to say the least. No matter where in the world you travel to, if you tell the foreigners you're Canadian, they welcome you with open arms. We are a nation known for our big hearts, compassion, and friendliness. I AM CANADIAN!"
– Roxanne Rose, Medicine Hat, Alberta
"Last July I moved back to Canada with my family after 17 years in England. I enjoyed my time there but always knew I wanted to return home. Having lived back here now for almost a year it just reconfirms my decision. Canadians are wonderful, genuine people. We have a great standard of living and know how to enjoy it. We have four full seasons to enjoy the countryside and outdoor pursuits. We are truly blessed to have a country as wonderful as ours and to know I am truly Canadian….."
– Wendy-Sue Morris, Stirling, Ontario
"This morning I said good-bye to a friend who is returning home to Arizona after visiting Canada for the first time. He was enthralled with the beauty of British Columbia, which he drove through on his way to Edmonton, and found Alberta to be extraordinary. We took him on a day trip to Jasper National Park, where he was awestruck by the splendour of the Canadian Rockies. We went to Fort Edmonton Park and took a step back in time for a few hours, and he was amazed by what he saw. I was so glad I had paid attention in Social Studies class way back when, so that I had the knowledge to pass on to him about this fabulous country of ours, and Alberta in particular. We spent hours discussing the differences in our countries - health care, schooling, and housing among other things - and I was thinking how proud I am to be Canadian. Now he has gone home with a better appreciation for us and our many and diverse cultures. I feel he is richer from experiencing Canada, even if it was only a small part."
– Janet McCormick, Edmonton
"Nothing makes me feel more Canadian than supporting our troops here and abroad. I am a military wife and I support my husband and the thousands and thousands of troops across Canada and on overseas tours. I am proud to be a part of the military community. The men and women who sacrifice their time with their families to ensure that other Canadians enjoy their time with their family and loved ones makes me proud to call myself Canadian. Without those brave human beings freedom might not be something we could afford to take for granted in this country."
– Lisa Vaters, Yellowknife
"Nothing gives me a more satisfying feeling of 'coming back home' than the experience of crossing the border from the U.S. into Canada. Canada and its people exude a warmth and friendliness that make one feel so welcome and safe. It's a feeling that many fellow immigrants and even native Canadians share whenever the topic arises. As an immigrant from India, I feel so honoured and blessed to be a Canadian now and proud to be part of a culture that is respected and loved world-wide."
– Judy Castelino, Mississauga, Ontario
"Recently I dusted off an old autoharp and took it with me to the day care where I work. I gave each of the kindergarten-aged children the opportunity to choose their favourite song and let them strum the strings while everyone sang and I pressed the correct chords. Popular choices were 'Row, Row, Row your Boat' and 'Twinkle, Twinkle,' but it was little Emma who chose the song that got the most exuberant response. She wanted to sing 'O Canada.' Without any urging all of the children stood at attention and sang with such gusto that there was no question that they were proud to be Canadians. When it was the next child's turn to pick a song, she quickly piped up. 'I want to sing "O Canada" again.' And so we did."
– Barbara Hicks, Abbotsford, B.C.
"My father was a Canadian Forces pilot so I grew up on airforce bases throughout Canada and then spent time as a musician in the Air Reserve when I was in my twenties. I got a chance to live in and visit many places from Victoria, BC, to Ellesmere Island. Then when I was married I moved temporarily to Nunavik and Nunavut with my husband and two young sons. All this travel has given me an appreciation for the vastness of Canada and the incredible diversity of cultures, climates and landscapes. But one thing that has always stayed consistent is that Canadians are friendly and caring from coast to coast to coast! (Can't forget our Inuit friends in Inukjuak on Hudson's Bay and Gjoa Haven on the Arctic Ocean!) I am grateful every day for being born Canadian and can understand why immigrants want to come here."
– Cathy Graham, Vernon, Ontario
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"Canada has given me new life skills that I was not aware existed in me. Confidence to become something was built in me and helped me to find my true self. It gave me the opportunity to go to school and achieve what I never thought I'd one day have. Today I'm a well-established and accomplished citizen of this country. I got everything that I ever dreamed about it. I work for one of the 50 best employers in Canada. I am a valued employee and treated well with respect and acknowledgement. I made my identity in this country. I would not have been able to do that in my own birth country. Canada, I thank you from my bottom of my heart for what I am today."
– Shaheda Patel, Markham, Ontario
"Being a Canadian is more than most can imagine. We are the friendliest, most loving people in the world. Canada is a country of hope and security, and is beautiful. It is clean, well maintained, and our fellow Canadians make Canada what it is.
"Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, I miss home as I live in Germany right now but do have hopes to move back home to Canada because Canada is my home and I am proud of it. My three boys, who were born in the U.S., are now Canadian citizens and will have better opportunities as Canadian citizens. My eldest son keeps asking me to move to Canada so that opportunity is at hand for us. I miss Canada very much and look forward to coming home soon."
– Isaaf Ghaday
"Pride in my Canadian identity is what makes me Canadian. I am an immigrant to Canada and there are many reasons I feel pride in being Canadian. I love the fact that Canada cares about people. The universality of our health care system demonstrates that and any threat to that shows up in the political polls as Canadians show concern for the continuation of that system. Our countrywide system of social services, although administered by the provinces, shows that we care about those less fortunate than ourselves. I am from Denmark and that country has a social democratic history. It is no surprise then that social democracy has had an impact on Canada as well. I hope for the future that Canada shows increasing interest in ecological advances and in investing in them. Our multicultural country as well makes me proud as I see just how well we all can live side by side with respect. Certainly there are exceptions but by and large, we co-exist and indeed all grow from our shared histories."
– Kirsten Hauge, Chilliwack, B.C.
"I crank up the radio as the sign tells that there are just a few more miles yet to go. I'm greeted at the border by a friendly stranger standing in the booth. When they flash me that smile and tell me 'Welcome Back,' I know I'm home. Home is where I want to spend my life and share my dreams. I'm in Canada, our home and native land. Crossing that border is a jolt of excitement. I wonder why the car can't go faster or why that speed limit sign has a limit of 20 – don't they know the adrenaline that flows freely through my body as I ride onto the open roads of Canada?
"I am a Canadian. And always will be.
"I'm a dedicated follower of hockey, I enjoy fresh brewed beer (Molson), flash strangers a friendly smile, eat poutine proudly, I pronounce it zed not zee, show my tuque off to the tourists, cheer like nuts when Canada scores and most importantly stand proudly when my Canadian anthem is sung throughout the crowd surrounding me.
"HAPPY CANADA DAY!"
– Jack Pearson
"I have recently discovered how truly proud I am to be Canadian. I am currently working in Japan as a participant of a program that hires graduates from around the globe to teach English and increase cultural awareness in rural Japan. Living in Japan, I have met young people from many countries around world, and have learned a great deal about other countries besides Japan and the other Asian countries I have visited and I have realized how unique Canada really is! We are open-minded, peaceful people who strongly believe in social justice and equal rights for all. After living in such a homogeneous society, I have also really discovered how lucky we are to live in multicultural society and how acceptance of different cultures really shapes our identity as Canadians.
"I have also discovered how lucky we are to have so much wilderness and nature around us. We are healthy, active people who enjoy the outdoors and care for the environment.
"I have learned how important being a Canadian is in terms of my identity, and I believe that leaving my country and living in a completely foreign culture allowed me to discover an appreciation for the beauty that is Canada. I look forward to returning to Canada with this perspective and seeing the welcoming, smiling faces of my fellow Canadians."
– Jade McDonnell, Gunma, Japan
What do you think makes us Canadian? Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org."In 1939 my father visited Canada from England and several years later he and my mother immigrated.
"I feel very privileged to have been born in Toronto, Canada, and to have grown up in a land that was new and exciting. I have so many fond memories.
"Although I now live in England I have returned to Canada many times and always miss the space, cleanliness, modernity, the laidback feeling, friendliness and pace of life of this marvelous country. It is very important to my family that I never lose my Canadian accent because they are very proud I am Canadian."
– Sandra Newman, London, England
"I have always felt very patriotic toward Canada, but never more than now since I currently live in Hong Kong teaching English. I never realized how important it is to feel that sense of belonging somewhere. When we are at home back in Canada we take it for granted. When we are abroad I feel it's a different story. Being outside of Canada it's such a good feeling when we encounter other Canadians. For example, Canada Day festivities were held yesterday (July 1) here in Hong Kong and a large number of Canadians were out in the expat drinking hole in Central. It was really great to see! Moreover, some of us even took to the street just outside a Canadian pub and at the stroke of midnight belted out 'O Canada.' I was proud to be part of this. Although I was not born in Canada, it is an honour for me to call Canada my home. I am where I am today because of Canada. Thank you!"
– Ty Chieu, Abbotsford, B.C.
"I'm a VERY Proud Canadian. I'm a serving member of the Canadian Armed Forces and my husband and I have served in Afghanistan.
"We have three young wonderful daughters. We are proud to live in a great land where we can all walk tall and proud. We are true Canadians. God bless this great land."
– Rhonda Lynn Appel, Cpl, CFB Petawawa, Ontario
"I’m not a Canadian because I live in Canada, I’m a Canadian because I believe in the region where I live! I’m thankful to live in Canada because of the peace and the learning that the children develop every day in schools. I also feel safe and protected because we don’t have war going on where I live. I'm so happy that I live in Canada."
– Julia, Montreal
"I am proud of my country, my only country, Canada. I am proud of her from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the Arctic in Nunavut, to the shores of Lake Erie in Ontario. I am proud of her French, and English, and of her many creeds and values. I am proud of her liberty, of her social consciousness, and of maintaining a separate existence from her friendly neighbour to the south these 140 years. I am proud of her history, good and bad, and of her continuing fealty to our Queen.
"As a Canadian I belong to all of Canada, not just the legislative division they call 'Alberta.' When my father came to this land from Greece in the early 60s, he didn't know what it meant to be a Canadian, but he became one anyways. When he married my mother and brought her here in the mid-'60s, she told him she didn't marry him, she 'married Canada.' When I was born during the centennial year of Confederation, I was not born a 'Greek,' I was born a Canadian; a stone's throw from Queens Park, the second of two children. When my mother took her citizenship test, I was there too, all of eight years old. They had to go to a private room, however, to finish the test, because I am a Canadian ... and kept answering the questions for her.
"And when my grandmother (the greatest woman I have ever known) died, I fought back the tears, because she died in Canada, on Canada's day. When I visited her grave on Canada Day in 2007, in a cemetery in Calgary's Queens Park, I looked at the flag of MY country, Canada, and wept, just a little bit. I wept because I still miss her; Grandma, after all, was born Greek, but she died a Canadian, a Canadian like me."
– Steven Eleftheriadis, proudly Canadian, Canadian only
"I have always been proud of Canada and what we have done on the world stage to help people, but being Canadian never truly struck home until one year when I was in Japan on business. We had been using the subway system in Tokyo to get around to our different meetings, but one day we got turned around and lost. As we were looking at a subway map a Japanese gentleman approached us and asked if he could help. Once he knew what our problem was he simply said follow me and I will make sure you get to where you are going. After three subway changes I told him that he didn't have to take himself out of his way, but he said no, it was his pleasure. He stated that he saw the Canadian flag on my backpack and had lived in Toronto for five years and that his neighbours were so kind to him and his family during their stay. As such he felt that by helping us to get to our destination that in some small way he was able to pay Canadians back for our kindness and friendship to him and his family."
– Peter Rigby, Ingersoll, Ontario
"I work at a school which is all prekindergarten, kindergarten and Grade 1. There is nothing like the exuberance of the children singing 'O Canada' each morning in the classrooms and at our weekly assemblies. It is also a school with a fairly large number of different nationalities and immigrants and it is very poignant feeling by the end of the school year to hear all of the children singing together the one song which makes this such a great country to live in."
– Joy Christman, Brooks, Alberta
"Canadians are respected and loved around the world for being a tolerant, open, friendly and accepting society. We are in many respects the whole world, pertaining to our vast diversity of cultures, living upon one continent. Therefore, we are an example of how people of different nationalities can live together in a harmonious fashion and work together to maintain a country that is a model for global peace. Also, as a gay man, I appreciate this country's ability to tolerate and understand those who deviate from the majority and allow them a peaceful country in which they can live harmoniously with those around them. Canada is beautiful simply because it has a diverse love and acceptance of the world and represents a unified front against prejudice and hate."
– Nick L., Montreal
What do you think makes us Canadian? Send your ideas to email@example.com."Freedom of speech and religion is what Canada is all about for me."
– Jose Gabriel Quezada
"I am proud to be Canadian because we live in a civilized society & free democracy."
– George Kalimeris
"Multiculturalism? A history of peace and tolerance? A society of warmth and friendliness? People should be reminded that this country's history isn't immaculate. In World War II we deported Jews back to a government bent on genocide, we enforced taxes on Chinese immigrants and conducted state sponsored experiments on the mentally ill and handicapped. However, I am proud to say that we have not remained ignorant in educating our youth about the blemishes in our history. The majority of Canadians take for granted the privileges and resources that we have and fail to recognize how it affects other parts of the world. Yes, we have many diverse cultures living in this country but it is beneficial as much as it is detrimental. In other words one of our presumably proudest qualities (being diverse) is also one that interferes with the unity of the country. Increasing health-care costs due to an aging population and a government consisting of politicians who are more focused on pointing fingers than at actual problem solving, and a growing threat of American non-culture infecting our society are just a few of the issues we are currently facing. It's strange that so much effort could be placed into celebrating our nation's birthday yet we drag our feet and remain indecisive when it comes to policy-making and addressing significant societal issues.
"I feel that being Canadian means being able to help realize the belief, that through hard work and integrity we may help Canada to mature and grow to become something better than what it is. Being Canadian means that we make decisions based on how well the country as a whole can benefit, not on how oneself can benefit. An individual is Canadian because they do not tolerate ignorance at any level and will acknowledge and learn from mistakes made. A Canadian understands that we need to assist each other when trying to rectify errors and that we may have to make sacrifices ourselves in order to come to the support of others."
– Michael Zheng
"I am Afghan Canadian, and what I like the most about being Canadian is that we live in society where everyone enjoys the same rights. It doesn't make any difference if I came today or someone is living here from last two hundred years. That is what we are proud of, tolerance. It is a very positive role internationally. Afghans will be always thankful for Canadian military sacrifices in Kandahar, the most tough and dangerous front in all over Afghanistan."
– Khalil Khan
"What makes us Canadian is our love and respect for the lives of humans and wildlife. Our neverending compassion to make the entire world a better place to live, for humans and wildlife. What makes us Canadian is how we redefine and vitalize the meaning of human rights, equality, tolerance, love and peace, to people, to folklore, to everyone's culture, values and beliefs. I am a Canadian because everyone who lives in this country is my brother/sister, my neighbour, and without this land, I refuse to live.
"God bless this country, which no words can define."
– Adam Elameer
"I am a grandson of four Italian immigrants, both Catholic and Protestant. Both my parents were born in Montreal. My mom, who is Catholic, lost her parents when she was quite little and was brought up speaking French. She went to French school. My dad, who is Protestant, on the other hand, spoke Italian with his parents and English with his siblings. He went to English school. My two siblings and I went to English school in Montreal and spoke French to our mom and usually spoke English with our dad.
"I had just a basic knowledge of Italian until I decided to go to Italy and improve my Italian. I travelled as a backpacker all over the world for eight years and realized that I am truly blessed to be Canadian. When I learned that American backpackers were putting the Maple Leaf on their backpacks, then I truly was a proud Canadian. Speaking French, English and Italian proved to me I was a true Canadian. When our political leaders decided to have a wonderful health-care system like we have today, I found myself to be a lucky Canadian. When I travelled across Canada, I knew I was Canadian. But most of all, I am Canadian because my parents shared two different religions, three different languages and we're still alive and well. Canada is a perfect example of peace. Shall I go on?"
"Thinking of Canada always puts a smile on my face. I'm currently living abroad, I am a naturalized Canadian from Ecuador and I gotta say I'm a proud Canadian through and through since the day I saw my first Leafs vs. Habs game. Being Canadian means always being humane, always trying to do the right thing, never complaining but rather working hard to achieve your goals, being Canadian means being down to earth, fun, being able to be friends with any type of person, whatever their faith, their race, their preferences. If you ever felt Canadian, you know that tolerance is certainly our greatest feature. I've travelled a lot and I couldn't think of a more civilized place on earth, yet cool and so much fun!"
– Jaime Roberto Ramirez Escobar
"I wasn't born in Canada, and I don't regret that one day I decided to be one. It is difficult to understand for me why I love Canada so much. But I'm Canadian by choice, and I think that is why I consider myself sometimes more Canadian that any Canadian born. I thank Canada, MY COUNTRY, for all what I have today, especially because I was able to raise my kids in a different way. I learned different values in life that never would have learn in my mother country (Peru). I feel so deep in my heart, that my eyes get wet, that I only to listen the Canadian anthem, and for the rest of my life, I'll have the flag in front of my house to let every body know that I'M A REAL CANADIAN."
– Victor Del Hierro
What do you think makes us Canadian? Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org."Canada Rocks!!!
Living in the true north strong and free,
means much more then words to me,
I walk down the street and smile at my neighbour.
I have equal opportunities at earning my labour.
I take in the lush riches of mother nature so divine,
Camping and hiking, amongst her maple and pine.
Our elderly respected, our children kept dear,
A unity in our people, a life without fear.
Our flags which stand tall enriching the clouds,
Represent the dignity and diversity, of a land that is proud."
– Roxy Fraser, Ontario
"As a younger Canadian I feel so thankful for discovering what Canada has done for its people and for the rest of the world at such a young age. As a retired member of the Burlington Teen Tour Band I have left the band with more than just memories of songs and people. In 2004, the band travelled to France to represent Canada's youth at the 60th anniversary of D-Day on Juno Beach. We had the honour of being on the beach with the veterans and hearing their stories and seeing their pride come out in tears. It was a most emotional but rewarding experience. We also were at the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands in Holland where we learned even more about the Second World War which has left me with nothing but respect for those who fought for us and continue today to serve for Canada. Every time I hear the Teen Tour Band, all I can think of is how proud I feel to be part of such an incredible country.
"Canadians are not 'Americans' to other countries. We are certainly welcomed to other places in the world because our country has always maintained a reputation of peace and kindness."
– Jennifer Prior, Burlington, Ontario
"I love the vastness, beauty and diversity of Canada, its land and its peoples. However, when I think of Canada I think of a land that was stolen from the indigenous peoples that once inhabited this land and treated it with respect. I think of a country that has now chosen to become engaged in a foreign war and complicit in atrocities against civilians.
"What makes me Canadian? What makes me Canadian is the ability to speak out against what I think is wrong. There are many things about Canada that are right and many things that are wrong. Waving a flag and posting a 'support our troops' sticker on your car is not what constitutes a Canadian. To ignore the injustice is to be unpatriotic."
– A.C., Maritimer
"I am extremely blessed to have been born in this wonderful country of ours … on July 1, nonetheless. I am honored to be a Canadian and proud of the qualities that we're known for, eh? In this world that doesn't have tolerance for other religions, nationalities, and differences in general, we are a peaceful nation. I am thankful that we're free, that we live in such a beautiful diverse country from east to west coasts and that our natural resources are abundant."
– Cathy Reisinger, Morinville, Alberta
"Canadians are different from the rest of the world. We are able to live in a diverse nation, where ethnic conflicts, poverty and acts of injustice don’t go by without action. We stand for values of morality, education, heath care, prosperity, peace and most of all freedom. Not only are we listed as the World Bank's second wealthiest society, but also the most desirable place in the world to live. As we travel the world, we should be proud to wear our flag on our bags, as we are cheerfully welcomed from nation to nation. We are known as peacekeepers and have shown and provided a unique lifestyle, which has given many the chance to share the same opportunity. Canada Day is a day to celebrate, look back and continue to work for a better life not only for ourselves but the rest of the world!"
– Jeff Bunn, Bradford, Ontario
"My name is Matt G of Nova Scotia, and I've lived in Canada all of my life. Born and raised in Atlantic Canada I can't imagine living anywhere else. I remember I took a flight out of the country from Halifax airport and as I flew both in and out, all I could remember seeing were the vast forests and lakes and thinking how beautiful it looked from up in the sky. I'm also very proud of our country being known for peace, compassion and cultural diversity, and I cannot think of any other country I would rather live in."
– Matt G., Nova Scotia
"As someone who was born and spent the first 35 years of his life in Sri Lanka, I am proud to be the citizen of a country that has as its significant features all that is best in democratic practice and a decency and civility that is, perhaps, without equal anywhere in the world."
– Emil van der Poorten
"What makes me Canadian? The need to leave my country to travel, work, study and the deep-seeded craving to return home."
– Marsha Stewart
"I am so grateful to have been born Canadian. I live in a land that has as many varieties of trees and landscapes as it does people. I was raised not to be prejudiced, to accept people for who they are, not for their former nationality, and to judge everyone on their own merit.
"Our country was founded by immigrants, whether it be by the natives thousands of years ago or by others who followed hundreds of years ago. I believe we who live in this great country are truly blessed. We have the most wonderful species of every living thing there is ... animals, trees, fish, shrubs, flowers and people. We are a melting pot of it all. I am truly blessed to be Canadian, to have raised Canadians and to never take this large, open, magnificent country for granted. I enjoy living here and am always grateful for my good fortune."
– Nancy Murphy, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
What do you think makes us Canadian? Send your ideas to email@example.com."What makes me Canadian? On Canada Day I buy a 24-pack of Molson Canadian and shop at Canadian Tire. I do my patriotic duty.
"Besides that, I was born here, my parents were born here but my grandparents were not. Strange as that may sound as a qualification, it is the history of what we call Canada. I am a strange (or lucky) bird being the youngest son of a youngest son, my family memory goes way back. My grandparents, whom I never met, immigrated to this country in the late 1800s. In three generations we have been here as long as Canada has been a legal entity. My grandparents were dropped off by the CPR at an empty spot in the track in Saskatchewan and homesteaded land, lived in a sod hut and raised six kids. The six kids are all dead but lived through world wars and depression and good and bad and raised us, my generation. The generation who has a lot. I have a friend in China to whom I sent an email wishing them Happy Canada Day, saying, 'You must laugh at us, we are only 140 years old and you are so ancient.' The reply was, 'No, wish I was there.'
"I am Canadian because of what my grandparents did. They travelled to, literally, the great unknown, and struggled and didn't go out of this world with a lot but they left that set of values which has carried through the generations. I'm not rich, but I have a hell of a good life. That's Canadian."
– Norm Cameron
"Like the bold Rocky Mountains of Alberta I stand to protect thee as our anthem is told. Like the spring crocus coloured purple I stand for pride in my daily stride, always bending to compromise. Yes, I am Canadian."
– Brian Slater, born in Canmore, Alberta
"I’m extremely proud to be a Canadian! What a great country to be in with its many cultures, beautiful landscapes, oceans, mountains, wide-open spaces, fresh air, four fantastic seasons to make living so interesting. Yes, Canada is the land of the free and it's no wonder so many immigrants want to move here for the good life in a democratic country, medicare and a population that is so down to earth, fair, honest, considerate and ready to help anyone. I’ve travelled a bit and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Go Canada Go, from Montreal, Québec. Let’s all keep up the good work and live for O Canada on this special day. A huge thank-you to our fantastic military people who are doing a great job all over the world in the service of their country."
– Denis & Denise Gingras, Laval, Quebec
"Hello, my name is Paige and I'm 11 years old. I live in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. I was born here and raised here. I have a little story to tell you all!
"Every summer my parents go to Newfoundland, the province above us, for a month to visit my father's family, who live in Gander, Deer Lake, St. John's and everywhere in between! Although I love being up with the family, my favourite part of our annual trip is getting there and coming back.
"Our family usually catches an 11 p.m. or 1 a.m. boat in Cape Breton, so we leave at lunchtime. This stretch of driving is always amazing. I love seeing the best of my province! The hills, the valleys, the peaks, the highways, the grass, and even the sky! Everything in Canada is so beautiful! This year on the trip I'm going to try to stay awake the whole time.
"The boat ride is definitely my favourite part of the trip, all the staff who are there are great, and the ship is beautiful. The Caribou and the Leif Ericson are my favourite ships.
"I love going up to the open deck and watching waves pass us by in the moonlight – it's so beautiful.
"I think being Canadian is awesome. Being Canadian is about being peaceful, having fun and enjoying our beautifully amazing country.
"Thank you Canada, and thank you for your time!
"P.S. I wrote this myself, its 9:15 am, Canada Day!"
– Paige, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
"What makes me Canadian? Waking up each morning safe and sound, free from the anxiety of civil unrest or war. I appreciate so much that I can walk out my door and never have to worry about snipers behind the backyard shed. We live in such an amazing, respectful and peaceful country. I will be thinking of our Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan this year. It is because of you that I am safe at home. Thank you!"
– Patti Boudreau, Williams Point, Nova Scotia
"Our national anthem says it all for me! Each time I attend a function and it is sung, I get goose bumps and tears as I listen to the words. Nobody sings it better than Andre Boileau of Penetanguishene, Ontario! Our Canadian flag is another reason. So recognizable with its maple leaf! The benefit of being a Canadian is that no matter where I have travelled, I am welcomed openly. Yes, you bet I am proud to be Canadian!!"
– Diane Bald, Penetanguishene, Ontario
"I've always been proud of being a Canadian and loving the country for its friendly people, open spaces and beautiful scenery. I appreciated being from Canada even more when I started working on cruise ships. Canadians were always the friendliest passengers and travelling to so many different countries I never felt afraid to say I was from Canada. I currently live in England with my fiancé, and whenever I say I am from Canada no one has a bad word to say about the place. People are always saying, 'I love Canada, we went there for a holiday...' or 'I want to go to Canada, see the Rockies, Vancouver, etc...' They're always so excited and want to learn more about the country or tell me stories of the friendly Canadian they met in the past. I also am excited to tell them of our great land and the wonderful things to see and do.
"I have been all around the world and seen many beautiful countries but nothing compares to Canada! Wishing all my fellow Canadians a very Happy Canada Day!"
– Erin A. Sawchuk, Edmonton, Alberta
"Everyone knows that wherever you go in the world, everyone loves the Canadians. I am so proud to have my Canadian luggage tag on my suitcase and to wear my Canadian T-shirt but the thing that makes me Canadian is this: At every given opportunity, I sing out O Canada, either in English or in French with all my heart and with so much pride. Many times I am the only one singing but it doesn't stop me. Two years ago, my daughter was playing in a hockey tournament and she was the only player who took her helmet off and sang when the Canadian anthem was played. I was so proud of her."
– Val Flowers
"I am so proud to be Canadian because we live in a country that accepts us ALL as equals. I am a gay man who is married to my husband because we live in a country that accepts all people regardless of their sexuality. I am a happy, productive dude who just happens to love another man. I am so happy that we live in a country that accepts us for just a couple of guys that love each other. Is that so wrong? I have the greatest respect for anybody that wants to make a commitment to each other be it gay or straight or whatever."
– Paul Allen
What do you think makes us Canadian? Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org."My parents grew up in Moncton, New Brunswick. My mom’s grandparents emigrated from England. My dad’s grandparents emigrated from Scotland. My parents moved to Quebec after they married, where I was born and raised.
"My father passed away from cancer in 1980, the same year as Terry Fox. I was 15. My mother moved our family to British Columbia that summer, which was both astonishing and life changing for my three siblings and me. My awareness of the vastness of our country truly bloomed then.
"We returned to New Brunswick in 1982. I traveled to B.C. on my own in 1983, at age 18, and have made it my home. Many people have asked me over the years, 'Which do you prefer, Eastern or Western Canada?' How could anyone respond to that? We are Canadian – Western Canada is very new and there is no comparison to Eastern Canada, which bears so much history. Both have so much to offer! And the middle and northern provinces have their own charm.
"My husband is first generation Canadian. His parents emigrated from France and he was born in North Vancouver. They moved to Vancouver Island when he was two years old.
"Our six-year-old daughter, Carmen, is Canadian. Her culture is so diverse, which really defines everyone who is Canadian, doesn’t it?
"I for one am proud to be Canadian. On Canada Day, we will attend a parade and festivities to celebrate our heritage and embrace the people who feel as we do, and also the people who may not.
"After all, doesn’t being Canadian define diversity?"
– Dianne Robb, Comox, B.C.
"What makes me Canadian? The question has been posed in many ways.
"What makes me Canadian is the fact that I have been born into a country of compassion, understanding, friendliness and, most of all, loyalty. Loyalty is what Canadians are. Loyal to the fight for freedom that makes our country great.
"Our fight may carry us across the sea or let us make a stand in our own backyard. The fact that we can make this stand is part of what makes us ALL Canadian.
"We are free to live as we wish, in the many diverse cultures within. We are free to fight for the freedoms of others. We are free to roam our beautiful country without danger.
"I am Canadian because I am all of the above. It is that, which makes me unique and proud to be Canadian. I AM CANADIAN and PROUD of it."
– Tracey Stanlake, Exeter, Ontario
"It's very simple, I'm Canadian, and being like that makes me proud because we as Canadians have pride in our free nation and we don't ever ask for much, well may be a Stanley Cup would be nice you know, but that's different. Canada is a country where we practice our beliefs, share our joys and pains and always unite in what we think is right. We take our pride in knowing that our soldiers are fighting for us, and we take pride in knowing that we are a peaceful nation of tolerance and understanding of others. How we support our teams in every sport especially hockey is what brings closer together as a nation as a family. What makes me Canadian is Canada itself, because without it we would be lost. Hail to the Red and White and our Maple Leaf.
"Our country and our nation – O CANADA! – is what I believe in and standing up and singing it with pride and honour makes me feel like I'm a part of something amazing and that's my home, that's my Canada and that's why I AM CANADIAN!!!!"
– Marianthe Grigoropoulos, Laval ,Quebec
"I have studied in top universities of the world and travelled a lot. I have lived in more than 16 countries so far. Canada is a country where I have an identity as a Canadian and I am proud of my country. There is no other land like Canada where all citizens from hundreds of different nations with different cultures and religions live in such a harmony and peace. We are Canadians and we know what it takes to be a Canadian. This country is unique. I will teach my kids to keep it so."
– Alex Noutash, Montreal
"What makes me Canadian is my acceptance and tolerance of others regardless of race, nationality, religion or sex. My ability to look at the multi-cultured population which comprises Canada today and look at those of different origin and religion and not fear them as outsiders but to live beside them as Canadians."
– Tyler Penney, Doha, Qatar
"What makes me a Canadian is not something I can easily translate into words. It is, perhaps, something as simple as the fact that while living abroad I feel compelled to write in to an insignificant tab on my browser window that is inevitably set to Canadian media. It is why my desktop picture is still an image I took whilst camping at Burnt Timber Campground in Alberta some seven years ago. Why I feel like I’m back at home when my mother sends me the latest season of Corner Gas on DVD. Why, when I’m dining out at a restaurant, I worry that I am not giving a decent enough tip … regardless of the service! These few examples barely scratch the surface when attempting to define what it means to me to be from Canada. How does one tell a Canadian how lucky it is to be a Canadian? Simply can’t be done, unless that Canadian has had a multitude of experiences outside of Canada. This is not to say that those who have never left home feel any less love for their country, rather, to define the differences one must be able to understand them. I wish that I could put forth some profound statement that would delve into the hearts of Canadians and instill pride but I cannot. It means something different to each of us, and it is that diversity that will allow Canada to thrive. Find out what it means to you in your heart, and never let that go. For me, today, I’ll be staring at my desktop wishing I were camping."
– Ian G. French, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
"I am originally from the U.S., having been born and brought up there. When I married my husband, who was a Canadian, in 1963, I had no intention of giving up my U.S. citizenship. However, the longer we lived in Canada, the more I realized that this was home to me now. I loved the people, the culture, the scenery and there wasn't one thing about Canada that I could complain about! Therefore, in 1976 I decided to become a Canadian citizen and am very proud that I did. While I still have roots in the U.S. and it is a nice place to visit, I wouldn't give up my life in Canada for anything. Now I have children and grandkids who adore this country too! We are all true Canadians and thankful for it."
– Judy Fulton, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
"Being Canadian is hard to define as it encompasses so many emotions and feelings. I read a text, a while ago, which describes how I feel about my country. This text evokes all the splendour, grandiose venues and strength of Canadians. Here are a few excerpts of that text, author unknown….
'I have walked this land, ridden, driven, flown and paddled across her millions and more millions of miles. I have blasted her rocks, channeled her waterways, survived her snows. I have run my hands over her face, searching out the strengths and beauties and moods of my country. She is rich, wild and potent.
'I came from all over the world and come yet. I came for freedom and brought freedom with me. I came in hope and brought fulfillment. I gave myself in barter for what I sought. In measure as I have made Canada what she is, she has formed me to her own needs. Her breadth and openness have infused me, have given me a firmer step and a farther look in the eye.
'I am not the average Canadian. There are no average Canadians, and this is my country’s glory. It is the surest measure of her freedom to be a nation of individuals, people who are Canadian by nature rather than by decree.
'I am Canadian, and I am deeply myself. For this I give thanks to my country. May she never falter, may she never swagger. May she realize her potential without losing her character. May she have peace, and may she give it. May it always be a proud thing to say : I am Canadian.'
"I give thanks every day to have been born in this magnificent land."
– Linda Roy, Montreal
"Hello. My name is Sarah Alexander, and I am from New Brunswick, Canada. I was born and raised in Canada, and I am so thankful for the kind of life I was able to have there. At present, I am living and working on a one-year ESL teaching contract in South Korea, but I miss Canada terribly. People here in South Korea are, of course, curious as to where I am from, and when I tell them Canada, they always give me a big smile in return. However, many people here are only familiar with the bigger provinces such as Ontario and the western provinces. It makes me proud to, more often than not, introduce them for the first time to the Maritimes, and in particular, New Brunswick.
"I miss the wide-open spaces, the friendliness of everyone I meet, and the red and white Canadian flag. I am so thankful for the freedoms that we enjoy as Canadians, and I am so glad that we have soldiers fighting for those freedoms daily. I am glad that we live in a country of so many opportunities, and that those opportunities are available to everyone.
"The saying is true that a person does not fully appreciate what they have until they leave it, and I can vouch for that. I am more thankful for Canada and my heritage there since I have left and I certainly cannot wait to return to my homeland."
– Sarah Alexander
What do you think makes us Canadian? Send your ideas to email@example.com.