Oh, Canada Day!

 

Canada Day occurs every July 1st. Why is this important? Due to the origins of both our countries we have a bit of shared history. Not only that but we also have a very long shared border. In fact, it is the largest international border in the world. It even has a name, the International Border which I would think adds to the specialness of Canada. (Incidentally, Detroit is actually north of Canada. (Just a little trivia for the geographically astute.) Detroit and Windsor, Ontario share the Detroit River over which the Ford Fireworks display wows the crowds on both sides of the border/river each year.

Our shared history involves being subject (and I do mean subject) to what was once the British Empire. As previously mentioned Canada Day occurs on July 1st. Personally, it seems just a little suspect that Canada Day occurs two days prior to America’s Fourth of July or Independence Day during which there are fireworks shows and shooting off firecrackers quite similar to our celebrations two days later.

Well, come to find out there is actually a good reason for choosing July 1st.

Canada Day, July 1st, was set aside to commemorate the joining of three British North American colonies into one nation by British Parliament. These three provinces were Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada (which was divided into Ontario and Quebec) creating four provinces in the country. This occurred July 1, 1867 when the British Parliament passed the North American Act. Today, Canada is a free nation requiring no British Parliamentary acts to amend its constitution. That would definitely be a bummer. It takes governments too long as it is to get things accomplished.

So what does it mean to be a Canadian and how are they different from their neighbors across the International Border?

I believe I’m something of an expert (at least in my own mind which possibly says something about my sanity) having lived most of my life in Southeastern Michigan just over the border with Canada. I’ve encountered a few Canadian idiosyncrasies which at times have been a bit puzzling to me. Also, I actually lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba for 4 months for job training.

Canadians have a dialect all their own often adding “eh” nearly every other word in a sentence. It’s cute! Quebec is a French-speaking province which explains why I’ve never visited. (I passed French in high school but I remember little of the language.) Another difference is they use the metric system which is confusing to us visiting Americans still stuck on using the English measurement system. (Hey! We had to keep something from our early British days.) Speeding tickets explain some of the confusion encountered.

Then there is sports. A definite game changer.

One of Canada’s favorite sports is curling which I always thought was something women did while fixing their hair. Live and learn.

Let me tell you, curling rates right up there as the most boring sport ever. (Obviously, that’s just my opinion. It’s an Olympic sport so someone must love it.) It involves brooms and heavy “stones” being swept down and ice rink. I was not swept off my feet watching the “action”. It’s not much fun to watch on TV (Trust me, I’ve done it.) and in person isn’t much better. Plus it’s extremely cold in the building in which curling occurs.

As many know, the national pastime is Hockey. If you think American college and pro football fans are rowdy and out of control, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve attended a hockey game in Canada. Canadians are fanatically fanatic about their hockey teams. And along with these national pastimes they put away a lot of beer. I suspect beer-drinking might be another national pastime.

So basically a description of Canadians is they may tend to copy certain American holidays including Thanksgiving and Independence Day. They love beer, hockey, curling and possibly more beer.

All kidding aside, when I lived in Canada for 4 months I met the nicest, kindest, most hospitable people who opened their hearts and homes to us visiting Yanks. It was definitely a home away from home.  I have a special place in my heart for the people of Canada. Still a little “sibling” teasing won’t rock the cradle too awfully bad. Right? Maybe?

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