Sunday, July 01, 2012

Happy Canada Day, My Fellow Canucks

Here's a vivid description of this great land I call home.

And I know exactly what he's talking about, too. I used to live in Canada's Boreal Forest/Canadian Shield country in northern Saskatchewan. I've traveled through the Alberta badlands and the Canadian Rockies are magnificent. I've stood on the spot they call the Great Divide, from which all water flowing West ends up in the Pacific Ocean and all water flowing East ends up in the Atlantic.

I've seen the red earth of Prince Edward Island and viewed smoggy Toronto from atop the CN tower. I've walked in the Parliament buildings in Ottawa and dipped my toes in the Pacific Ocean. I even found my way through the City of Montreal by looking for signs that said Ouest and Toronto. (Yes. Even a thick tongued old Anglo can make it through Montreal with a smattering of French.)

All are spectacular, but I have to admit I'm a flatlander. I like to be able to see for miles and miles. No smog for me, thank you. And in the forest, I feel claustrophobic:
"Canada is an amazing place. Where else do you find a country where it takes 14 hours to drive from one province to the next?"
True enough. Once, many years ago, my ex's father came to visit and we took him out to Vancouver Island so he could dip his toes in the Pacific Ocean. He couldn't believe the distance we had to travel to get there. He thought we were going to the ends of the earth.
"From Pinehouse we drove through hundreds of miles of boreal forest. Then we spent hours traversing parkland. Finally we spent more hours exploring the Prairies, all the while gradually gaining altitude as we moved toward the Alberta foothills and the Rocky Mountains.

We drove until blood clots formed in our legs. We visited what seemed like dozens of gas station washrooms, some of which were also amazing in an alarming way. Sometime after midnight I dropped dad off in Drumheller, which sits in the middle of Alberta’s Badlands, itself a bizarre and wonderful place.

Today more than 80% of Canadians live in urban areas and it’s natural enough to associate Canada Day with Parliament Hill, fireworks, the Snowbirds, beer ads and pancake breakfasts down at the local park.

But Canada is also the second largest country in the world next to Russia and it’s the wilderness between the cities we live in, as much as anything else, that makes us Canadian.

I know not everyone will see it this way, but I am somehow strangely reassured by the fact that in most of Canada it is still easy enough to get mauled by a bear."
Although I'm not so sure about being mauled by a bear.

And back in the day, when I worked for a living, I really liked it when July 1st fell on a Friday. The Fourth of July would be on a Monday and that really made it feel like an extra long, long weekend.



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4 Comments:

Anonymous MaxEd said...

Happy Canada/Dominion Day, Loiuse!

July 01, 2012 12:27 pm  
Blogger Louise said...

Same to you! Here in Yahooville it's blazing hot with nary a cloud in the sky. Perfect day.

July 01, 2012 12:53 pm  
Blogger Indigo Red said...

Happy Canada Day, Louise! I've been listening to Gordon Lightfoot songs and I'm feeling very Canadian today.

July 01, 2012 5:03 pm  
Blogger Louise said...

Throw one or two by Ian and Sylvia in there, and you might even feel like an Albertan.

July 01, 2012 5:23 pm  

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