Celebrating Canada 150: What Being Canadian Means

Canada 150 Flatlay

Canada’s 150 Birthday History

If you want to witness Canadian patriotism, there is no better time than during Canada’s 150th Birthday when the country celebrates our identity.

If you’re Canadian you can probably remember your history teachers drilling into your head, the date of July 1st 1867 when Canada signed the constitution and became a self-governing country. Although it wasn’t called Canada Day until 1983, the government has always given the country a day off so Canadians can celebrate.

A very controversial point to the Canada 150 celebrations is the fact that Canada isn’t 150 years old if you take into account the aboriginal communities. Aboriginals have lived across the land we now call Canada for hundreds of years and haven’t been treated very kindly by colonizers or the government. I genuinely feel as though people bypass the truth that Canada has had a messy past with colonization, and I wish that Canada 150 celebrations made more of an effort to recognize that this country has more history that led up to the Constitution of 1867. I want for nothing more than for Aboriginal communities to feel as though Canada is representative of their heritage, and I hope that in the future, the government will do more to protect their rights.

Canada Flag Canada Day

Getting very Canadian with a giant flag!

We’re Not Just The Stereotypes

Aside from the controversy, this year I’ve been taking some time to reflect upon what being Canadian means to me. I know Canada has stereotypes associated with our country’s general behaviours: being overly polite, drinking Tim Hortons 24/7, playing hockey in the winter, living in igloos and saying “aboot”. I don’t know if I really fall into any of those stereotypes. I’ve been known to be snappy, prefer a mix of Starbucks and Tim Hortons, I can’t skate on ice, I live in a regular house (okay no one actually lives in Igloos for the most part) and I don’t say “aboot”. But I think there are more defining features of Canadians than just the stereotypes.

Our defining feature at the moment, which I think a lot of Canadians are proud about, is how our country is very accepting and multicultural. This feature has been more prominent as the years have progressed.

Debrodniks Donuts Canada Day

Supporting Local Businesses: A donut from Debrodniks Donuts

Our Parents Helped Shape Canada

On the whole, Canadians–especially kids of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, are all first-generation Canadian. Our parents are mostly immigrants from Europe and Asia. I am included in this majority. My parents worked hard to make their way in Canada. They left their country when it was most dangerous and settled in Canada during the late 70’s. At the time, Canada was not quite as diverse as it is today. They were faced with adversity. They had to learn a whole new way of life while keeping parts of their culture alive. And most of all, they had to dedicate themselves to creating a new life that they would be proud of and a life that their children would one day appreciate.

It’s not often that I stop to say thank you to my parents. I sometimes forget that Canada as I know it wasn’t the same for them. They had to put up with less tolerant people and they had to endure the stares and questions. But they weren’t the only ones. As immigrants kept flowing into the country, there was a shift to a more multicultural and diverse community. As immigrants and Canadians worked together, they shaped the country into what it is now. Kids today may not ever realize just how much our immigrant parents have shaped our country’s dynamic, but we are definitely still the reason the diversity continues.

Wearing a Canada 150 Shirt

Supporting Local Businesses: A Canada 150 Shirt from Projoy Sportswear and Apparel for Canada’s 150th!

Defining Canadian Identity 

Kids of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are continuing the groundwork our parents put in place. We’re the force that’s driving Canada’s identity. I hope we can continue to make a positive impact in Canada and around the world when it comes to multiculturalism, acceptance, tolerance. I hope we can continue as innovators in start-up businesses and tech industries. I hope that people look past our stereotypes and sees how far we’ve come as a country, pushing ourselves to do better for our society everyday.

I know that we all look forward to the July 1st long weekend for the weekend vacations, BBQs and fireworks, but I think this year, we’ve all had a little bit more pride in our celebrations. I personally had more pride than usual, and went out of my way to wear Canada swag. I even made the conscientious effort to support local Canadian businesses in my Canada Day Celebrations. Even recognizing how much my family means to my growth in this country played a major part in my day.

Now I want to know how you celebrated Canada 150! Let me know down in the comment section below.

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