Thursday, July 01, 2010

Five More Reasons to Be Proud This Canada Day - 2010 Edition

The Nexus tradition oflisting five reasons to be proud to be Canadian each Canada Day continues. As with the 2008 and 2009 lists, these are just a few reasons to be proud this Canada Day:

1. The World's Longest Undefended Border - Along the 49th parallel, Canada and the United States of America share the longest undefended border in the world, and have enjoyed one of the longest periods of peace in history.

Peace between the United States and Canada was far from inevitable. The principle of Manifest Destiny coupled with Canada's status as a British colony to demand that the United States annex Canada. One reason was to satisfy ideological demands for complete US dominion over North America. The other was security.

Peace between Canada and the United States eventually came about as a result of earned trust. Canada and the United States have fought side-by-side in numerous conflicts -- most importantly World War II and the Korean War.

Through sharing the status of comrades-in-arms, the United States came to know the true nature of Canada: a peace-loving people who will stand and fight when the objective is necessary, and the cause is just. While many Americans have forgotten this in the midst of Canada declining to join the US war in Iraq, it is a reputation that our country is re-earning in Afghanistan.

The world's longest undefended border is Canada's legacy of pursuing peace while opposing tyranny.

2. The 2010 Winter Olympics - When Canadian history books are written at the conclusion of the 21st century, there should be little doubt that the Vancouver 2010 Olympics will be written about as a turning point in terms of the Canadian identity.

Vancouver 2010 will be seen as the birthplace of a new Canadian identity. That of a country learning to outgrow its former humility, and celebrate its successes on the global stage without fear of being branded as "too American".

It should be considered a welcome change in the minds of many Canadians. Canadians have waited a long time to become comfortable with their patriotism.

3. Leonard Cohen - Every Canadian can periodically use a reminder that, yes, a Canadian can achieve global icon status without also having the world come to loathe them for the depth of their ego (a la Celine Dion).

Born in Montreal, Cohen's music is appreciated around the world. "Halelujah" may well be one of the most iconic songs of all time.

4. The Group of Seven - From the 1920s onward, Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, Andrew Young Jackson, Franz Johnston, Aurther Lismer, Frederick Varley, Tom Thomson and James Edward Hervey MacDonald presented the Canadian landscape to the world in the form of art.

Working in styles ranging from realism to impressionism, the Group of Seven produced some of the most iconic images of Canada's landscape.

In particular, Andrew Young Jackson formed the group at least partially to confound art critics who didn't consider his style to be conventional enough -- few things can be as Canadian as that.

5. Lacrosse - Canada's national summer sport is one that, sadly, hasn't received the attention it deserves. While that is changing with the increasing popularity of the National Lacrosse League -- currently with teams in Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto.

Lacrosse was first played by Huron and Iroquois Indians. It was equal parts religious ritual, physical competition and alternative to armed conflict. Games were played by hundreds or thousands of players on fields as much as miles long. Games would last for three straight days.

The game was eventually picked up by Jesuit missionaries operating in modern-day Quebec, and eventually developed into the game as it's known today. Like hockey, Lacrosse has a uniquely Canadian character that should be cherished by all Canadians.


Happy 143 years, Canada!

8 comments:

  1. Not that I want to rain on a Dominion Day/Canada Day parade, but it's about time we stopped the "world's longest undefended border" comment — precisely because, from the American side, it's no longer true.

    Every centimetre of that border is under electronic observation. Former cross-border cooperation (one town's fire department responding to a fire in the neighbouring town) that's gone on for decades — centuries, even — is now not allowed by the Department of Homeland Security (US). Despite NAFTA, Canadians with US TN-1 visas are finding all sorts of entry barriers being put in their way.

    It may not be a military operation in the sense of one army squaring off against another, but neither is it the open border it was a decade ago, at all.

    Their fault. Our loss.

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  2. I actually expected to hear that objection from someone, Bruce.

    I'd just like to point out that "undefended" doesn't mean "unsecured".

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  3. Great post, our exports in culture of the Canadian food, comedy, babes!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poutine

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  4. I just learned today from reading Michael Coren's blog that the Canadian red & white flag is not the original flag of Canada. Gotta read up more and see what the old one looked like and why it was changed.

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  5. Maria,

    I seriously hope you're joking.

    The original flag of Canada was the Red Ensign, and it was changed to assert Canadian independence from Britain (simple explanation, as simplified by me. Disagreements are welcome.)

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  6. No, seriously, I had no idea. I am just a little over a decade old "new" immigrant and in the books recommended at that time that new immigrants read about Canada's history, I don't recall seeing the old flag. Now I have copy of it in my pics folder.

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  7. I'm guessing we can chalk hatred of you up to progressive hatred of immigrants, then? ;)

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