I Can’t Dance: Don’t Ask Me or Happy Canada Day 2012

English: Montage of 15 Canadians from 14 diffe...

English: Montage of 15 Canadians from 14 different ethnic backgrounds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place…they are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom.” ~ an Australian dentist.

Our ego is intact. We are proud Canadians. We make fun of ourselves in amusing diatribes casting ourselves as beer drinkers and puck shufflers. One of our national symbols is an ornery rodent with a fierce overbite. The other is the “maple leaf forever” (though I suspect that our love and loyalty to the proud maple is the fact that the tree produces that lovely amber nectar known to all of us who love pancakes: maple syrup.)

As a true “too modest to toot our own horn” Canadian, I am turning to an outside source or two to brag about our accolades. We tend to define ourselves with tongue in cheek stand-up comedy routines, but we are much more than that. My sources (okay, my sources were emails from a couple of friends), an Australian dentist and a British journalist see us as brave unsung heroes.

First, the dentist. He spied an ad in the news that someone in a foreign country (the country was named, but my journalistic instincts {or spidey senses} lead me to believe  it would not be fair to name it) was offering a reward to anyone who killed a Canadian, so he developed a definition that would throw would-be assassins off our scent. When you read his description of us, you will understand:

“A Canadian can be English or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish or Greek. A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan. A Canadian may also be a Cree, Metis, Mohawk, Blackfoot or Sioux.

A Canadian’s religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none….the key difference is that in Canada they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

A Canadian is generous and (they) have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.  Canadians welcome the best of everything…but they also welcome the least, the oppressed, the outcast and the rejected.

You can try to kill a Canadian, if you must, as other bloodthirsty tyrants in the world have tried, but in doing so you may be killing a relative or a neighbour. This is because Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, can be a Canadian.”

All that and we play a fierce game of hockey too. Whether or not you agree with everything the Australian says, there is nary a word about beer, beavers or maple syrup. It is nice to be defined by who we are and what we do and not just by clichés and national symbols.

Kevin Myers also provides a grand nod to Canadians in an article he wrote for the London Sunday Telegraph. Titled, “Salute to a brave and modest nation” he describes Canadians as perpetual “wallflowers”. At first glance, this does not seem particularly complimentary. But in context, it does remind us that we do not just do the right thing for glory and recognition.

Myers says, “Canada is the perpetual wallflower that stands on the edge of the hall, waiting for someone to…ask her for a dance. A fire breaks out, she risks life and limb to rescue her fellow dance-goers and suffers serious injuries. But when the hall is repaired and the dancing resumes, there is Canada, the wallflower still, while those she once helped glamorously cavort across the floor, blithely neglecting her yet again.”

“Canada,” Myers states emphatically, “repeatedly does the honourable things for honourable motives.”

While Myers does a nice job of complimenting Canada, his one downfall is that he pities the fact that we go unrecognized. Majestic Canada and her subjects need no one’s sympathy. Recognition is nice, but it is beside the point.

On July 1st, Canadians will celebrate this great country of which we are blessed to be a part. Happy Canada Day, and as the dentist downunder said so eloquently: “Keep your stick on the ice.”

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day (Photo credit: Anirudh Koul)

And to our neighbours to the south, Happy 4th of July ~ you have many a proud tradition to celebrate too!

Published in: on June 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm  Comments (67)  
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67 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Happy Canada Day to you too. I am (un)lucky enough to be working through the weekend. I don’t normally work weekends, but we have a rota to assign them and I just got lucky that mine includes all 3 days of a long weekend.

    Growing up, I didn’t think that we were that distinct from our southern neighbours, but the older I get, the more I see subtle differences. I like the differences and hope in many ways that we manage to remain distinct, to keep our own identity.

    I think we’ll make some Maple Charlotte this weekend, to celebrate.

    To add to your “keep your stick on the ice”, I offer another local (perhaps wider) expression – keep ‘er between the ditches.

    • Hello, I’d love to know how to make Maple Charlotte 🙂

      Happy Canada Day to you. Sorry you have to work all weekend

      • me too

      • I’ll have to put up a post sometime soon, if I can manage to make it and take a photo of it before the rugrats eat it all up.

      • It is hard to make people wait when they want to eat your scrummy food! I’ll be patient but will look forward to it when it comes! 🙂

      • you will probably have to be fast – Happy Day

  2. I have always been a true believer that we have our own very distinct identity. I live about 30 miles from the Detroit border, and went to the University in Windsor and had a lot of American friends and roommates. They pointed out all the wonderful things about Canadians and made me very proud of my country.
    Happy 1st and enjoy your Maple Charlotte. I have to go get my Canada bear and flags out and decorate my front chair and front door now.

  3. Happy Canada Day! I did so much enjoy your post. I am in an odd situation in that I was born in Canada and lived there for 12 years, then came to the UK. My family are all British. I have dual nationality so often feel I don’t belong anywhere. But I do think that Canada is a fantastic country with a lot to offer and a lot to be proud of. Ask British people and they invariably know Canadians – have family there – and have nothing but praise for their friendliness, kindness and spirit. And many people here would give an arm and a leg to live in Canada and enjoy your wonderful way of life. Even though I can’t be in Canada on this special day, I’ll keep you all in my hearts!

    • What lovely sentiments – I think Canadians feel a special allegiance to England (well, most of us, not so sure about Quebec) and the fact that we share Queen Elizabeth makes us compadres. (btw-I was born on her birthday – something I brag about all the time.)
      Love your blog – thanks for dropping by and the good wishes.

  4. True.Some of the nicest people I know are Canadians.

  5. Happy Canada Day everyday!

  6. I have this quote, along with quite a few others on my bulletin board, “Our dreams are high. Our faith in people great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die.” Pierre Trudeau. I think that about sums it up!

  7. My mom was Canadian but when her family moved to the states when she was a teenager she was forced to renounce her citizenship to become an American. She told me that she secretly had her fingers crossed during the process. Because of this I consider myself a secret Canadian. 🙂 Besides I love Roger’s syrup and Smarties.

    • Then I hereby make you an honourary Canadian. That means of course you have to learn how to play hockey. Just kidding — I don’t play or watch (much) hockey,

  8. I will never forget my five beautiful years in Canada as a child.

  9. I am glad you have good memories of Canada. cheers!

  10. myers is right you are a brave and modest nation. let’s remember it was the Canadians who got many people out of the embassy in Tehran at great risk before it fell. the first helicopters on the scene in new orleans were Canadian not American. You’re not wallflowers. Nations who do the right thing to stay in the dance, do it for recognition as well as it being the right thing to do. doing the right because its the right thing doesn’t need or want and invitation to the dance. Happy Canada day to a brave and modest nation.

  11. Thank you so much for your comments and perspective — I am sure any Canadian reading it will be proud. Who needs to dance?

  12. Happy Canada Day from a fellow Canadian near Lake Ontario! The paragraph that started with, “You can try to kill a Canadian….” brought tears to my eyes. Great Post!

    • Happy Canada Day — that dentist really had the right idea didn’t he? Hope you enjoy your weekend, and that it is coller whre you live than it is here near Lake Erie.

  13. Happy Canada Day everyday, not just Sunday! Cheers to the good people to my north!

    • Happy 4th Frank – we have the 1st covered.

      • Oh I forget … I do … ballroom that is. 🙂

      • I am so impressed. Everytime I dance with a guy–they always ask me “so you want to lead”? and I say–“is there any other way?” so obviously I can dance but not well – never been a good follower

      • Oh no … ballroom is the one place I can lead in life, and now you crush it. 😉

      • lol

  14. Thanks Frank – Happy 1st! Cheers to the good people to the south of us – though where I live in Southwestern Ontario, we are to the south of a lot of the States.

  15. Great post! It made me feel teary and I’m not even Canadian (I’m Australian). I’ve met a lot of people in my travels and my time spent living overseas and I can honestly say the nicest ones have all been Canadian. And like you say in your post, they were all very different people from different ethnic backgrounds but all had similar qualities of openness, warmth, good humour and generosity. I’m sure you have some bad ones (as does every country) but I’ve never met a Canadian I didn’t like.

  16. What a beautiful thing to say – of course there are a few bad apples – but on the whole we are a pretty good lot. Do you have celebrations like July 1st or 4th – Independence Days or Austrailia Day? We enjoy the same Queen (or am I overstepping here – someone is always trying to get rid of her, but the majority win out)

  17. What a great post and tribute to a country that deserves to be praised. As Canada is part of Northen America and I live in the US I’m counting on y’all to be there when I head north. 🙂

    Seriously, I love your country. I have an adult step son who has lived in BC since he was a young child. He has dual citizenship. I have always adored our visits up north, loving the country I see. The people are lind and if not always warm always helpful.

    You have so much to be proud!

    • Thank you, and I really love your country too – you people are passionate and have gumption — and are not afraid to show your enthusiasm–and that is very, very good thing. We can take a lesson from you–our own Prime Minister had to tell us it was okay to get excited at the Olympics. Anyway Happy 4th of July

  18. Ah Louann, you have me by the throat…
    Happy Canada Day to you and yours as well!

  19. Happy Canada Day to you too- thanks for dropping by.

  20. From an American who is a hockey player and the daughter of a very proud Canadian, Happy Canada Day!

    • thanks for dropping by and have a great 4th – and I know we do not have the corner on hockey – you guys and gals are pretty great too

  21. I enjoyed this post a lot! We spent three weeks in your beautiful country as our retirement present to ourselves and we found wonderful scenery, amazing wildlife and the loveliest people. One day we plan to return.:)
    Happy Canada Day to you and yours!

  22. First of all, I can’t believe you were writing about a dentist during the week in which I had to visit a dentist after my tooth filled out. I will never, ever, ever, so help me, attempt to limit the people from a certain country to a certain ideal. We humans are ever so much, aren’t we? We have a great admiration for Canadians here in the UP (OK, many of us) because we’re such close neighbors. Wishing you a Happy Canada Day. WaHoo!

  23. Happy 4th. I like dentists as long as I do not have to go to them.

  24. this is sweet, happy independence day! it makes me wish I was Canadian…good thing our own independence day is on its way! I’m a good old fashioned american. =]

    I love you all because you are geniuinely nice and give the world maple syrup 😉
    Great post!

    Choc Chip Uru

  26. Happy Canada Day! I enjoyed the post 🙂

  27. Happy Canada Day! I have always loved our neighbors to the north, especially your national symbol of the beaver – not only are they cute they are diligent workers! We are planning to visit St John, New Brunswick and Hallifax soon, first time for both of us there but our 9th visit to your beautiful country. I enjoyed your article and would like to add, we have the utmost respect and admiration of Canada and her people! There are no words to express the beauty and vastness of your country other than to say God’s Country (which is a favorite expression of mine to describe God’s creation that is still left untouched) Blessings from south of the border!! Patty

    • What a lovely comment. I admire your country too and have a lot of friends in the U.S. Have a great 4th of July.

  28. A very good post and a Belated Happy Canada Day….
    Take Care…
    You Matter…

  29. Thanks so much

  30. I’m late reading this as Canada Day has come and gone but I am proud to be Canadian…one of if not the best country in the world…I would like our government however buy a small Caribbean island to have a warm place to live …not just visit..lol Diane

  31. start a petition – I will sign it

  32. Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while today. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as good as when I arrived. I’ll be back!

    • Great and I will be visiting yours- I will bring the hotdogs and mustard for the weiner roast.

  33. I believe that we in the USA are greatly blessed to have such wonderful neighbors and true friends to the north.

    • and we in Canada are blessed to have wonderful neighbours to the south — thankyou Russ

  34. I adore your country and would love to see more of it. The folks in Montreal and Quebec are amazingly kind to us, every time we go up. We’ve also met a lot of people from Toronto and they were wonderful as well. One day I want to check out Nova Scotia. That seems like a pretty special place! xo

    • I have a friend who moved to Nova Scotia and she loves it. I am glad you like Canada–I have visited Florida and New York State an Ohio–and loved them all

      • I think I would enjoy living in Nova Scotia. It has very interesting and lovely Celtic roots. I’m glad that you’ve enjoyed the U.S. It’s pretty diverse terrain here, which makes it interesting. There is still a lot I have not seen. Still have not made it out west.

      • each State is like a country of its own–as in Canada–each province and territory have something different to offer–I need to visit more of Canada and the United States

  35. Happy O-Canada To You Lou!!
    May I add that Canadians are also Americans? or at least one is. My 40 year old step-son is. he moved from Oregon when he was just 8 yrs old. has dual citizenship of all things.

    he has served your country proud twice becoming BC’s businessman of the year An high school drop out who started hos own business in a garage/ he sold his 1967 Camero for start -up money. He now has one of the largest furniture manufacturing businesses on the west coast
    I believe it is your country which gave him not just the perseverance but the chance.

    have a wonderful Day!

    • what a lovely comment — so happy for your step-son and you — what is the name of his company; and thank him for serving our country twice–he sounds like a fine young man (omg–I am channelling my old geezer self–I am too young to make comments like that – lol)

  36. Hey Lou, I am the old lady in the bunch I am sure. maybe Ruth & I but i will never call her old! You are still just a baby love!

    Thank you for you kind words. The name of my S-sons business is Sonax. it used to be called Images about 10 yrs ago but there was a business issue causing hem to change names. Adding the link just for fun, no way am I suggesting a thing. Just so you can see what they are doing. He & his wife are also very involved with Autism Speaks Canada.


    Have a great Monday Night friend~

    • thanks so much for the link–I took a gander and like what I see–very clean modern lines

      • thanks Lou. So not my style as I am a solid wood fan but I am so proud of this kid who I met when he was 9 yrs old.
        He is my only son, having given birth to my two daughters. He is a good kid who is an asset to your country. I am glad to see him pay Canada back for all she gives him and his family.

        Thank you for giving me this platform to brag a bit!

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