It’s the day to celebrate our country from coast to coast, and to soak in everything it offers.
For Canada Day this year, Global News asked readers when they felt the most Canadian — a sense of pride in a country they call their own. From stories of travelling to other nations to eating maple syrup (how original) to even taking in the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canadians have a lot to be proud of.
Some readers even shared their most proud Canadian moments with Global News on Twitter.
“Whenever I take my child to @SickKidsNews who had open heart surgery as an infant. #Canada #HealthCare,” user Karl Zenith Nieva said.
“In 2015, I visited the @Azraq_Camp for #Syrian refugees and was proud to see the Canadian flag among the nations providing support to those in need in #Jordan,” user Bob Neufer said.
For others, it’s more simpler.
Others stuck to those true Canadian stereotypes of maple syrup and hockey.
“I was on a cruise ship once and they didn’t have any maple syrup for my pancakes, only corn syrup on the whole ship. WTF. I turned Canadian so fast, I almost passed out with shock. 😂 Most Canadian I ever felt,” said one user.
Below are highlights of some of these stories. When do you feel the most Canadian? Let us know in the comments below.
Stories of travel, otherness
“I feel most Canadian when I’ve been out of the country for a while and I go through Canadian Customs and Immigration on my return trip home. After interviewing me about my travels, they often say, ‘Welcome home.’ I always feel so incredibly happy and proud because it reminds me of how grateful I am to be born and raised in an incredibly diverse nation,” says Shefali Bahal of Toronto.
Ragini Kapil of Delta, B.C, spoke about how in the last few years, many people in her hometown assumed she was from “somewhere else,” just because the colour of her skin. “In fact, it’s usually when we travel, that I feel the most Canadian, often wearing a little Canadian flag pin to identify myself,” she says.
“A few years ago, our family was in Amsterdam. It had become a travel tradition to take my daughter’s picture with firefighters and police officers,” she continues. “We happened upon a burly motorcycle cop and requested a picture. He was very brusque and unfriendly, agreeing so reluctantly that we nearly walked away. Then, he found out we were from Canada.”
“As soon as he realized, his entire demeanor changed. He leaped off his bike and asked if we wanted to sit on it. Never have I felt so proud to be part of this wonderful country, and never have I felt my Canadian identity so profoundly.
Mom Christy Laverty of Burlington, Ont., agrees.
“Travelling, whether it is overseas or just over the border, makes me even prouder to be Canadian. It makes me appreciate what we have created here in this country. While we are not perfect, I believe the people of Canada are open and willing to do the work to keep Canada a great place to live… I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”
Winters are unique here
Most Canadians have developed a thick skin to deal with the country’s wrath of winter, or at least pretend like we do. Some readers told Global News the season itself makes them feel the most Canadian.
“Going to school in Ottawa, nothing was more quintessentially Canadian to than bundling up, skating on the Canal, taking a break for hot chocolate and beaver tails. All with Parliament Hill in the background,” says Tanya Hayles of Toronto.
Others, including Hayles, appreciates the one-of-a-kind pride that comes from the Olympics.
“During the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, I stood taller as I was so proud to be a Canadian. No longer self conscious about feeling nationalistic,” says Lee-Ann Winters of Vancouver.
Previous data has shown Canadians have always been proud of how open-minded they are towards each other or how diversity and multiculturalism, although not always embraced, was seen as a strength compared to other countries.
For 52-year-old Francesca Dobbyn of Owen Sound, Ont., feeling Canadian brings her back to a few years ago when she was in a small town in Ontario visiting her daughter.
“We were at the local Chinese restaurant for dinner. The owners spoke Chinese to each other when relaying the order to the kitchen. Then an another group came in for dinner, forestry workers from their attire and scruffiness. Without hesitation, the owner approached and immediately spoke French to them in taking their order. From the demeanor and candor, these were regular patrons,” she says.
“I sat back in my booth and simply stated ‘Canada’ to my daughter. A country where newcomers start small businesses and learn both official languages because that’s who is in the community.”
And more recently, she thinks about Syrian refugees coming to Canada.
“I think of the Syrian family who arrived in Wiarton, Ont., two days before Groundhog Day in 2016 and we ushered them about the Wiarton Willie Festival as an introduction not just to their new home, but to Canada,” she continues. “I just wondered what they thought of this strange cold and dark country that worshiped an albino rodent and played outside all weekend in freezing temperatures. My understanding they had a great time, and continue to enjoy all that is their new home.”
“That’s when I feel the most Canadian.”