I have been blessed with being able to have travelled to most parts of Canada over the years, and have experienced much of it through either being a resident or by experiencing it with those who are residents. That’s very different than just passing through.
The only parts I’ve missed, sadly, are Labrador and the Yukon.
I hope that it’s given me a better understanding of what it is to be a Canadian - our differences and our similarities, what we value and why we value it.
I can say, honestly, that I’ve heard the same expressions of pride in every province, and I believe that we all have good reason - from whichever province we come from - to feel proud.
It stings a little to hear people make comments out of ignorance that insult those from other provinces - Ontario and Quebec, most notably. We’re all the same.
British Columbia is indeed a beautiful province. But so is Alberta, and Ontario, and Nova Scotia, and all of the rest. This country as a whole is one of the most beautiful places on this planet! And for all of the shortcomings of our provincial and federal politicians, I count my blessings every day that this is where I was born.
Growing up along the border allowed me an up close and personal view of life in the United States. Or, at least, Detroit (when it still had four million people). It was a place that most of us avoided, but contact with Detroiters was inevitable as they seemed to love visiting Windsor way more than Windsorites returned the social call. They were... different. They weren’t Canadian.
Living so close to the US helped me define what being a Canadian meant. And moving around the country made me appreciate all of the things that Canadians have in common - even in Quebec.
On July 1 - Dominion Day or Canada Day, take your pick, we’ll all be singing the same national anthem, eating cake and holding backyard picnics with the family (and the mosquitos, yellow jackets and ants. And maybe we’ll all be thinking that it’s a good thing to be Canadian.
Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal