150 Reasons to be Grateful to Live in Canada
It’s the 150th birthday of Canada and there is so much to celebrate! To mark this occasion, here are 150 things to be grateful for about the country I call my home.
Thank you for all of the ideas shared on my Facebook feed. This is the first time I’ve crowd-sourced help for a blog post. Even though we may not agree on all of these things, I hope that we can agree that we live in a truly amazing country that serves so many people in a wide variety of ways.
Also, please note that I’ve spent most of my life in the Toronto area, with trips to visit most other provinces. Many of the things on the list are related to Ontario as it’s where I am most familiar with.
150 Reasons to be Grateful to Live in Canada
1.Space. We are the second largest country in the world, and our population density is only 3.7 people per square km. This includes ‘the ability to get away from everyone. There are places in Canada where you could be the only person for 100 km in any direction.
2. Freedom of speech is protected as a ‘fundamental freedom’ in Canada. Although there are a few exceptions to this, for the most part, Canadian can speak their minds freely.
3. Freedom in general. When I posted the question of what are you grateful for about living in Canada, the majority of people wrote FREEDOM. We do have a real sense of freedom here. What I am most grateful for is that we have so much freedom of CHOICE.
5. Access to fresh water lakes. Canada has one fifth of the world’s freshwater in our lakes. Any many of these lakes are stunning to visit! ‘Lakes so big you can stand on the shore and forget it’s not an ocean.’
6. Two official languages. French and English are the two official languages of our country. Thankfully, I am able to speak both. On a global scale, French is less important than perhaps Spanish or Mandarin, however I believe that when we are exposed to a second language, it’s easier to learn a third or a fourth.
7. Four seasons. It may sometimes feel like we only have 2, but we are blessed with a fall and spring. Many Canadians have been known to go for a scenic drive in the fall just to see how the leaves are changing colour. Ontario’s Agawa Canyon is highly recommended.
8. Diverse geography. From oceans to mountains, and beaches to forests, Canada has an abundance of different topography. You can experience so many different types of natural resources in every province and territory.
9. Relatively peaceful. We are one of the 10 most peaceful countries in the world.
10. Access to medical care, for free. If you’ve ever travelled to the US or abroad without medical insurance, you could find yourself in serious financial trouble. Beyond the fact that we do pay for our health care with our taxes, we also have a very high standard of care.
11. Ease of travel. Even though our country is very big, it’s fairly easy to get from one end to another. VIA Rail is even offering a special youth pass to commemorate the Canada150.
12. Cottage country. A weekend tradition of many people in Southern Ontario is to head up to Northern Ontario for a weekend on the lake. No matter where you go, you’re treated to beautiful sunsets and a boat-load of fun!
13. Northern lights. You don’t even need to go that far north to see them. The first time I saw the Northern lights was on Georgian Bay. Here’s a list of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Canada.
14. Cultural diversity. This is one of the things I am most grateful for about Canada. We have the chance to connect with people of many different cultures on a daily basis. We can choose to try food from other countries, made by those who are native to the country, without needing a passport.
15. Traditional Canadian foods. When I was living and working in Switzerland, we had an event at the camp I worked at called International Day. Since the staff and campers came from all over the world, we had to create a dish that was traditional our country to share. Making poutine with Swiss cheese is not easy! Poutine originates from Quebec, and now there are endless ways to enjoy this un-healthy Canadian creation.
16. Our current Prime Minister. Justin Trudeau is the current Prime Minister of Canada. Without getting into his politics, I am grateful that our leader is well loved throughout the world.
17. Waterfall capital of the world. Hamilton, Ontario is known as the City of Waterfalls and has over 100 waterfalls and cascades.
18. Maternity and paternity leave. Women in Canada receive 15 weeks of maternity leave plus an additional 35 weeks of paternity leave, for a total of 50 weeks. Either parent can take the paternity leave. Paternity leave is also available for those who adopt a child. Recently, a parent can now choose to extend leave for an additional 6 months; however the total benefit remains the same.
19. CPP. The Canada Pension Plan may not be perfect, however there are many who depend on this program to pay their expenses in retirement. Others may use their CPP as well as other programs to support a more adventurous retirement.
20. Social support. When you are laid off from your job, we have Employment Insurance to help you to get by until you can find work again. And for those going through hard times, we have a social support system as well.
21. Minimum wage. This has been very controversial lately, however I remember when I first started working at 15, I was really excited and grateful to earn minimum wage. It paid more than my paper route!
22. Decriminalization of cannabis. Whether we support the use of cannabis or not, decriminalization is a step in the right direction.
23. Indoor plumbing. It’s so easy to take for granted that we have toilets and showers in our homes.
24. Access to affordable housing. And for those who cannot afford housing, there are government support programs for housing as well.
25. Public education. Our children can attend a public school in their neighborhood, or take the school bus to one nearby. They can choose to apply for a dual language education, called French Immersion. And for French-speaking families in an English community, their children can also attend a full French school.
26. World-class post-secondary education. Many Canadian Universities fall in the top 200 Universities in North America, include U of T and McGill. My Alma Mater, McMaster University, is #110.
27. Diversity of animal species. There are currently over 7,000 different species of vertebrate animals and plants in Canada.
28. Maple syrup. Canada produces 71% of the world’s pure maple syrup with 91% originating from within Quebec (source). C’est délicieux!
29. Niagara falls. I have always loved the Canadian side of the Falls. They are considered to be the honorable Eight Wonder of the World.
30. Kind and positive people. One think that I have noticed is that Canadians are generally very kind. We tend to over apologize. I love that most people you meet on the street will smile back when you give them a smile.
31. Patriotism. We Canadians are fiercely patriotic, in a good way. We love to celebrate Canada Day and we love to travel with the Canadian flag on our backpack. Meeting a fellow Canadian while travelling is like a mini family reunion within minutes. Here’s an interesting perspective on whether or not to have the flag on your backpack.
32. Women’s rights. Women in Canada have fought hard for our rights. Check out this incredible timeline of women’s rights in Canada, you’ll be amazing at what our ancestors had to fight for.
33. Women’s reproductive rights. Abortion is legal in Canada. This is VERY controversial topic, and I’ve included here because in so many countries women have ZERO reproductive rights.
34. Access to birth control. Again, this can be controversial; however giving women access to reliable birth control has been legal in Canada since 1969.
35. Freedom to have children as a gay couple. I have many great friends who are couples of the same sex. Thankfully, many of them have been able to have children, whether biological or adopted. In Canada, they have the opportunity to make these choices.
36. Pride Parades. There are 13 large Gay Pride events across Canada every year.
37. Electricity. It’s very easy to take for granted that the lights turn on when we flip a switch. For many countries around the world, it’s not the norm. If you were around during the massive black-out in 2003, you might have a greater appreciation for the wonder of electricity here in Canada.
38. Basketball. In 1891 the game was invented by Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian who hailed from Almonte, Ontario (source). Where would the NBA be without Canada? We The North as our Toronto Raptors would say.
39. Hockey. Hockey is now recognized as the National Winter Sport of Canada. I firmly believe that our Canadian hearts have been captured by hockey, and I’m so grateful that in my lifetime, women’s hockey has become a world class sport.
41. Lacrosse. Lacrosse is the National Summer Sport of Canada. What is so special about lacrosse is it’s incredibly history. Lacrosse is one of the oldest organized sports in North America. While at one point it was a field game or ritual played by First Nations, it became popular among non-Indigenous peoples in the mid-1800s (source).
42. Host of 3 Olympic Games. All of them in my lifetime, however I was only a few months old when the Olympics were held in Montreal. I always say that the reason I became a gymnast is because Nadia Comaneci scored the first perfect 10 at those Olympics. Most recently, Vancouver was the host of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
43. Amazing Race Canada & John Montgomery. It’s totally awesome that a bobsled Gold-medalist has become the host of my favourite reality show, The Amazing Race Canada. I am also grateful that the show features parts of Canada that many of us would never see otherwise.
44. Craft beer. The craft beer movement started in the 1980s in Canada, and as of 2014 there were over 540 craft breweries in Canada. This industry has grown tremendously and offers great opportunities for entrepreneurs across Canada. My friends Joe and Lindsey are opening a brewery in Hamilton, Ontario in the fall.
45. Ontario wineries. When I was in high school, my mom became a wine writer and first level sommelier. By the time I was old enough to drink wine I was accompanying my mom on wine tours and learned all about Ontario wine. Once again, the industry has grown enormously over the past decade and brings so many opportunities to Canadians.
46. BC wineries. There are over 272 wineries in British Columbia today. There is a long history of wine making in BC. The first vines in the province were planted for the purpose of making sacramental wine at the Oblate mission, established in 1859 near the present-day site of the Summerhill Pyramid winery (source).
47. The Okanagan Valley. This beautiful area of Canada includes Kelowna, Penticton and Osoyoos. Back in 2003, I had the opportunity to compete in Ironman Canada, which was based in Penticton but we rode all over the Okanagan. That year there were devastating forest fires and the race was almost cancelled. We were able to compete on a modified course in smoky conditions. I was very grateful to be able to complete my first Ironman!
48. Home of 10 different mountain ranges. I didn’t even know we had so many – must have skipped that high school geography class. Here’s an image of all of them.
49. The Rocky Mountains. This mountain range effectively divides Alberta and British Columbia. It includes Banff and Lake Louise, which is aptly named Canada’s “Diamond in the Wilderness,”.
50. The Pacific Coast Mountains. This mountain range includes world-famous Whistler-Blackcomb. A stunning place to ski and hike, or even just to visit for the incredible views.
51. The Laurentians. Having recently visited Mont Tremblant, I was reminded of their wonderful beauty up close and in person. True, they aren’t as majestic as the mountains of the West, however they provide a stunning backdrop for many winter and summer activities in Quebec.
52. Skiing & Snowboarding. With all of these mountain ranges, it’s natural that Canada would be a great place for skiing. The Western mountains are bigger and steeper than what we have in East. Regardless of the site of the hill or mountain, Canadians love to ski and snowboard.
53. Domination of winter sports. At the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada set a new record for most gold medals won by a country in a single Winter Olympics with 14 (source).
54. Preservation of green spaces. Canada is committed to protecting our wide open spaces and natural beauty. In the past 20 years, the total area protected has increased by about 70%, and in the last five years it has increased by almost 10% (source).
55. Innovation. The great news is that that the number of patents awarded to Canadians between 2005 and 2015 was on a strong upward path (source). We as Canadians are committed to innovation! And let’s not forget that Elon Musk’s mother is Canadian, and he studied a Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
56. Dragon’s Den. Did you know that Dragon’s Den came before Shark Tank? The show started in Canada and then two of our Canadian Dragons, Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec went on to star in Shark Tank in the US. I am grateful for this show as it’s an amazing way to learn about being an entrepreneur in Canada.
57. Very little gun violence. Compared to our neighbours to the south, they are killing 51 times more people with guns than we are. We can continue to improve our gun laws and gun safety, however I’m grateful this is not something that we have to worry about on a daily basis.
58. Acceptance of the LGBTQ community. Canada is ahead of many countries in the world with our acceptance of all human beings. ‘Being able to live my life openly, honestly and safely’ as shared by my friend who is a lesbian.
59. Everyone can marry the person they love. On July 20, 2005, Canada became the first country outside Europe and the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide after the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act (source). Do you remember when Americans would cross the border to get married in Niagara Falls?
60. Religious freedom. While we may not all agree on which religion to follow, if any, here in Canada we all have the freedom to practice the religion of our choice.
61. A feeling of safety. One thing that came up again and again when I asked people why they are grateful to live in Canada, safety was number one. We have a feeling of safety here. Whether or not it’s a reality isn’t as important because the more we feel safe, the safer we are. Safety is a basic human need. Canada does well at fulfilling this need.
62. Opportunities for growth. We have an amazing culture of continuing education in Canada. From professional development, to language acquisition and personal growth, there are opportunities from coast to coast.
63. Opportunities for our children. In most major cities in Canada, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to our kids. We can enroll them in swimming, skating, skiing, hockey, gymnastics, dance, piano, violin, music, karate and other forms of martial arts, soccer, lacrosse, horseback riding, just to name a few. Even in smaller communities there are great opportunities for our kids.
64. Support for those with different abilities. There are many opportunities for support for families with differently abled children, adults with disabilities and support in our education system as well. While it may never be enough to help everyone, it’s a blessing that these programs do exist in Canada.
65. Immigration. Another very controversial topic these days for sure. Canada has an average of 235,000 immigrants arriving every year. We are also among the countries in the world that accept most immigrants per capita (source).
66. We accept refugees. In 2016, Canada accepted 46,700 refugees, the majority from Syria. Canada was the number two country in the world for refugee resettlement last year.
67. The Maple Leaf. The Maple Leaf is a symbol of Canada with a short history. Our current Canadian flag was only introduced in 1964 by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. We have created an affinity as Canadians for all things maple leaf, including many of us choosing to have a maple leaf tattoo. After I completed Ironman Canada, I chose to get the Ironman Canada symbol tattooed on my shoulder blade.
68. Farmer’s Markets. More of more Canadians are choosing to buy their food at their local farmer’s markets. And depending on the time of year, some of the markets are open year round. This focus on connecting with local producers helps us to become more aware of where food comes from and how our food distribution system works. Take a peek at this list of the biggest farmer’s markets in Canada. Have you visited any of them?
69. Food trucks. The food truck phenomenon has reached Canada! The government even gives you a Food Truck Start-Up Checklist if you’d like to start one yourself. Many of the bigger cities across Canada have food truck festivals throughout the summer.
70. Clean air. This one is so easy to take for granted! With the exception of a few smog days in the summer, we can breathe easy in Canada. Head out of the city and you’ll be breathing in pure, fresh and clean Canadian Air. In fact, our air is so good that a company has bottled it up and is selling it in China.
71. Abundance of food. When you visit a grocery store in Canada, the stores are filled with food. Some of it healthy, some of it not. We have an abundance of food to choose from, even during the long cold winters we face. The majority of Canadians have fridges full of food and pantries that are never bare.
72. Food banks. Yet, we have hunger in a land of plenty – some 10% of Canadians can’t afford a nourishing diet even though there’s lots of food to go round (source). Thankfully, we do have different food bank programs to support those in need. Though these are not the solution to food insecurity, it’s a necessity for many Canadians. Each month, over 850,000 people turn to food banks for help; more than one-third are children and youth (source).
73. Terry Fox. Terry Fox was an incredible Canadian, who ran across Canada to raise funds and awareness for cancer. He lost a leg to cancer at age 18 and eventually succumbed to the disease before he was able to finish his run. The Terry Fox Foundation, which now organizes the annual Terry Fox run, has raised over $700 million for cancer research (source).
74. Strong currency. In Canada, we have never had to worry about the devaluation of our currency. The Canadian dollar fluctuates greatly based on current oil prices. The good news is that our dollar is back up to $0.77 USD. Anyone travelling to the US this summer?
75. Discovery of insulin. This lifesaving discovery was made by Canadian Dr. Frederick Banting and his medical assistant Charles Best in 1922. Without it, people who developed diabetes would die within days. Frederick G. Banting and John Macleod were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1923 “for the discovery of insulin.”
76. Icebergs. Iceberg Alley off of Newfoundland and Labrador is the best place in the world to view icebergs.
77. World’s longest undefended border. The border between Canada and the US is the 49th parallel and is the world’s longest undefended border. However, security measures at border crossings have been increased over the past year as security concerns are heightened.
78. Public pools, arenas and communities centers. Having lived in larger cities and towns in Canada, I’ve had great experiences with municipal pools, arenas and communities centers. These places are a great way to get to know others in your community, as well as enjoy different sporting activities, events and my personal favorite, go for a swim on a hot summer day.
79. Our national anthem. Why am I grateful for our national anthem? First, it’s relatively easy to sign. Second, it can be sung in both National Languages. And third, We are the True North Strong and Free.
80. Relative safety from natural disasters. With the exception of flooding, we rarely experience many natural disasters in Canada.
81. Health Canada. We are very lucky to have Health Canada as a partner for our health as Canadians. Health Canada is the Federal department responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health, while respecting individual choices and circumstances. Health Canada also keeps us safe by alerting us of product recalls and other safety issues.
82. Toilet paper. This seems like such a simple thing to be grateful for, however there are many countries in the world that have indoor plumbing, yet due to a civil war or other unrest – no access to toilet paper. Next time you grab the Costco sized value pack of TP, give thanks.
83. Free public restrooms. Having travelled all over Europe and other parts of the world, access to free public restrooms is something to be grateful for in Canada. Most of our public parks and other public areas have free and CLEAN restrooms.
84. Museums. There are so many cultural opportunities in Canada. One of my personal favorite museums is the Royal Ontario Museum, or the ROM as it’s more commonly known. It’s a natural history museum in Toronto with special exhibitions several times a year.
85. Art Galleries. I was first introduced to art at the world famous Art Gallery of Ontario (also known as the AGO). My mom loves art and she shared her love by taking me to the AGO. There are also world-class art galleries across Canada, including the Vancouver Art Gallery in BC.
86. Ballet. The National Ballet of Canada is based in Toronto and performs at the Four Seasons Centre. Again, I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the ballet in person growing up close to Toronto. Canada’s National Ballet School also has an incredible program for young dancers, starting in grade 6.
87. Theatre. Toronto is a hub for live theatre performances. Canada also has community theatre programs across the country. This gives us a chance to watch professional levels of performance at more reasonable prices. It’s a great way to introduce young people to performance. And for adults who love to perform, the opportunities are endless.
88. Moving making. Have you heard of Hollywood North? Both Toronto and Vancouver are major locations for Hollywood movie productions. This means that on any given day in either city, you’re likely to see a movie production blocking off a few streets. The industry benefits our economy in positive ways and also allows for Canadian actors to perform in their home country.
89. Speaking of Canadian Actors. We have so many incredible actors and performers that are Canadian, and the list is far too long to share here. What I’m grateful for is that Canada continues to create more and more world-class actors and performers every year.
90. TIFF. The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF, stylized as tiff) is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world, attracting over 480,000 people annually. As a cultural charity, TIFF is more than an 11-day Festival; we are committed to transforming the way people see the world through film, 365 days a year, to grow and strengthen our community (source).
91. Food culture. Beyond food trucks, we have an incredible food culture in Canada. Since we have so many immigrants from so many countries, we can travel the world through food without leaving the country.
92. Food options. As someone who chooses to eat a vegan diet and cannot eat gluten, I am incredibly grateful to have so many options when choosing to eat out in Canada. It’s not always easy to go to a restaurant when you have allergies, food sensitivities or other dietary restrictions. I’ve found that in Canada, it’s much easier to find restaurants that will accommodate you.
93. Low infant mortality rates. Current estimated mortality rate in Canada is 4.6/1,000 live births. This is still fairly high for developed countries. Unfortunately the rate is much higher in Nunavut than the rest of Canada. This is an area that we as a country can continue to improve upon.
94. Snow! When my friend Kristen visited Vancouver this past winter, it was awesome to see her reaction to snow. She’s from Florida and has little experience with snow. A snow fall can be so magical, and for many people, Canada is the first place where they get to enjoy it.
95. Snowshoeing on Mt Seymour. Snowshoeing was first used in Canada by the Aboriginal people to travel across the snow. Today, there are sport snowshoes that allow the wearer to float on top of the snow and move quickly. Named the #1 Resort for Snowshoeing in North America by Snowshoe Magazine in 2012, Mt Seymour offers a variety of trails exclusively for snowshoers providing a place of beauty and solitude (source).
96. The snowmobile. It’s not hard to believe that the snowmobile was invented by a Canadian. Joseph-Armand Bombardier first brought the snowmobile to market in 1937.
97. We are health conscious. In general, Canada is a healthy nation. Over the past several decades the overall mortality rate and life expectancy have improved considerably, and in general, Canada compares well with the other developed nations (source).
98. Extended health care benefits. Even with public healthcare in Canada there are still gaps in coverage. Many employers in Canada will offer an extended benefits package to their employees to further reduce the cost of health and preventative care.
99. Eye care. In many countries around the world basic eye care is not available. We have access to preventative eye care all across the country. In Ontario, children ages 0 – 19 can have their eyes examined once a year without any cost to the patient.
100. Dental care. This is also a type of preventative care that is taken for granted in Canada. Most of the extended care benefits that I mentioned above will cover 80% of dental related costs. And for those who do not have benefits and cannot afford to pay to see a dentist, there are many different programs to access dental care for free.
101. Internet access. Canada has committed to making high-speed internet accessible to everyone, regardless of where they live. The CRTC has deemed that high-speed internet access is vital for all Canadians. Having this type of access for all Canadians will create more opportunities for global growth.
102. The beautiful scenic driving. Driving for thirty minutes outside of any major city and you’ll find beautiful scenic driving. There are so many incredible landscapes across this country, that no matter where you drive outside of the city, it’s usually stunning.
103. Flow of traffic. We may moan and groan about the traffic in major cities, especially in Toronto and the surrounding areas – however Canadians in general obey the rules of the road. This allows the flow of traffic to continue safely most of the time. It’s easy to take for granted that other drivers will follow the rules of the road.
104. Pedestrian safety. Ever tried to cross the road in Asia? That’s what I mean. In general, it is safe to cross the street at the indicated time at most crossing in Canada. Pedestrians do lose their lives in 15% of road traffic deaths in Canada, so it’s important to stay vigilant.
105. Treatment of domestic animals. To quote my friend Kim, ‘here in Canada we don’t have street dogs – our dogs/animals are treated like family. I am grateful that we have a safe place for them to come – great rescues that welcomes dogs from all around the world. I am grateful we have laws to protect our animals – I think Canada is probably the best place for dogs.’
106. We don’t always lock our doors. It depends on the community but it looks like some Canadians still don’t feel the need to lock their doors.
107. Tim Hortons. The iconic Canadian coffee shop is Canada’s largest quick-serve restaurant. Tim Hortons is so popular with Canadians that it’s become synonymous with Canadian culture. Double double is a part of our language.
108. Summer Camp. A rite of passage for many Canadian youngsters is going to summer camp. I spent 6 summers at Camp Kitchikewana on Beausoleil Island in Georgian Bay, Ontario. We also have an amazing camp program offered by Tim Hortons. Through fund-raising on Camp Day, they send children from low income families to experience summer camp.
109. Canoeing & Kayaking. Whether you attend summer camp or not, with all of the lakes in Canada, it’s a great place to learn how to paddle a canoe or a kayak. Our history with canoes dates back to the birchbark canoes used by Aboriginal people and later the Voyageurs.
110. Campfires. With all of our camping, hiking and cottaging, Canadians love a good campfire. As long as there is no risk of forest fires, on a warm summer night we will gather around a campfire to sing songs and roast marshmallows. Which brings me to #111:
111. S’mores & Bannock. S’mores were not invented by Canadians, however we LOVE them. S’mores are made by melting a marshmallow over a campfire, and then creating a sandwich with graham crackers and a few squares of chocolate. A more traditional over-the-fire Canadian treat is Bannock. It’s a traditional native recipe that can be easily reproduced today.
112. Kinder Eggs. These eggs are not native to Canada; however it’s good to note that they are legal in Canada. In fact, you can find these chocolate eggs filled with a plastic egg (which has a surprise inside) at almost every checkout line in every imaginable store.
113. Child labour laws. Thankfully, children in Canada are well protected by child labour laws.
114. The extra U in colour, neighbour and labour. A quirk of Canadian English, that stems from British English. Our southern neighbors dropped the U while we still hang on it. I love this as it drives spell-checker crazy!
116. We celebrate May 2-4. This is the colloquial name for Victoria Day, which is celebrated on the third Monday in May. Whether or not the holiday falls on the 24th, it’s still referred to as the May 2-4 long weekend. It’s the official start of the summer for most Canadians. And 2-4 refers to a case of beer – which has 24 beers.
117. Commitment to the environment. Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, has stayed true to the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
118. Surrounded by oceans. Canada is surrounded by three oceans: The Pacific Ocean crashes on the shores of British Columbia, The Atlantic Ocean hugs the shores of Atlantic Canada and the Arctic Ocean surrounds the Northern Territories.
119. Manners. We definitely have the reputation of being polite here in Canada. Recently, this was put to the test during rush hour in Toronto (not a scientific experiment).
120. Ketchup chips. A quintessential Canadian snack that emerged in the 1970s, this is often sent in care packages to Canadians who are living aboard. Perhaps we love our Canada red fingertips after indulging in a bag?
121. Skating on the Rideau Canal. The Rideau Canal Skateway is the longest skating rink in the world at 7.8 km. Based in our nation’s capital, when the cold Canadian winter sets in, brave Canadians will commute to work via ice skates.
122. Montreal Jazzfest. The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is an annual jazz festival held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Jazz Fest holds the 2004 Guinness World Record as the world’s largest jazz festival and remains the world’s largest today (source).
123. Waste pick-up. It’s easy to take for granted that when you put your trash bags on the curb, someone will come by to pick it up. Even for those in Canada who don’t have curbside pick-up there are municipal dumps where you can safely (for the most part) leave your waste.
124. Recycling. There are recycling programs across Canada to help divert waste from landfills. The more we can reduce our waste and recycle, the better it is for our environment.
125. Compost. Many communities have municipal composting programs. Canadians are also starting to compost at home and make their own rich soil. That rich soil can in turn be used to plant personal vegetable gardens.
126. Baseball. Canada has one Major League baseball team, The Toronto Blue Jays. Our country loves baseball and every summer there are over 120,000 kids who participate in the sport. There has been an increased interest over the past couple of years as the Blue Jays have been performing very well.
127. Sunsets on the beach. As mentioned many times, Canada is surrounded by water. With so many lakes and oceans, watching the sunset on the beach is a favorite Canadian pastime.
128. Delivery services. What would you like to have delivered to your front door? Besides the obvious from Amazon.ca, in Canada we have sushi delivery as well as pizza delivery. We also have delivery from the LCBO (where Ontarians get their wine) and The Beer Store (where we get our beer). And it always amazes me how quickly things can be shipped across this vast country of ours. Which leads me to #129:
129. Canada Post. I have been using Canada Post for my business for over a decade. It’s amazing how efficient our postal service can be and how friendly the employees are. I have had only a handful of issues with service in over a decade. And I am often surprised at how quickly a package arrives. The best was when I sent 20 of my books to Australia, regular service. I was told it could take up to 3 months, however the package was received in 8 weeks.
130. Santa Claus. Since the North Pole is in Canada, Santa Claus lives in Canada! You can even write a letter to Santa in the North Pole and he’ll send you a reply.
131. Canadian Passport. Canadian passport is one of the top 10 most powerful passports in the world. That means that Canadians can travel to 172 countries with no visa or get a visa upon arrival (source).
132. Our Justice System. The Canadian justice system is unique in the world. Two official languages (English and French) and two legal traditions (common law and civil law) co-exist within our system of justice (source).
133. Insurance. In Canada we can insure many things: our property, vehicles, our health and of course, our lives. And when our claims are covered by our insurance policies, we are able to collect our insurance.
134. Colonel Chris Hadfield. Besides being the First Canadian to walk in space, Colonel Hadfield made space interesting again. By engaging with the public while living on the International Space Station, he became a Canadian celebrity and has inspired a whole new generation of Canadian children to want to learn about space.
135. The Canadarm. The Canadarm was a remote-controlled mechanical arm used in space by NASA during the Space Shuttle program. It established Canada’s reputation as a leader in technological innovation and inspired a series of other Canadian robotics used on the International Space Station, including Canadarm2 (source).
136. Hiking trails. There are thousands of trails across Canada. Here are the 35 longest trails in Canada. Which ones have you hiked?
137. Canada’s colours. I’m a bit biased here, but I love red and white! Red is my all-time favourite colour. Did you notice that I added the extra U?
138. The BlackBerry. The BlackBerry was the must-have technology with the release of it’s first generation SmartPhone in 2002. Research In Motion (RIM) was co-founded in 1984 by University of Waterloo electrical engineering student Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin (source). They were the creators of the famous BlackBerry. I still have my BlackBerry tablet called the Playbook. Purchased in 2011 when it was released, it was quickly replaced by an iPad 2 a year later.
139. National Parks. National parks are established to protect and present outstanding representative examples of natural landscapes and natural phenomena that occur in Canada’s 39 natural regions, as identified in the National Parks System Plan (source).
140. Free admission to Parks Canada. To celebrate Canada150, you can order your Parks Canada Discovery Pass for free admission to Canada’s National Parks, Historic Sites and Marine Conservation Areas in 2017.
141. Ferry rides. From the Toronto Island Ferry to the Tsawwassen Ferry to Vancouver Island, ferries are a part of being Canadian. Unfortunately, due to flooding, the Toronto Islands are closed until July 31, 2017.
142. Water parks and splash pads. It can get very hot in the summer in Canada. And in many parts of Canada it gets very humid. Splash pads are areas in public parks with water features that children (and adults) can play in and around to stay cool. Also here’s a list of the 10 Best Water Parks in Canada.
143. A sense of community. When the forest fires raged out of control in Fort McMurray, Alberta last summer, the nation came together to support the community. Over 80,000 people had to be evacuated and Canadians from across the country pitched in to help.
144. Gord Downie. The lead singer of our beloved Tragically Hip is dying from brain cancer. At his farewell concert, he brought attention to the treatment of Canada’s Indigenous People. He spoke directly to our Prime Minister and asked him to clean up this mess. Where I find gratitude in this is that now we are more aware as Canadians of the terrible atrocities committed against our Native people. And with awareness, hopeful this will lead to reconciliation in our country.
145. Trilliums. This Ontario native flower is recognized as an iconic species of Canada.
146. Beavers. The Beaver has been recognized at an iconic Canadian Species. The Beaverton is a weekly satirical news show. And Beavertails or Queues de Castor are a deep-fried, hand stretched pastry that looks like a beaver’s tail. They are covered with sugar and other tasty toppings, usually found while skating down the Rideau Canal.
147. The Bluenose. The most famous ship in Canadian history, the Bluenose was both a fishing and racing vessel in the 1920s and 1930s. The Nova Scotia schooner achieved immortality when its image was engraved onto the Canadian dime (source).
148. Gander, NF. This tiny town of 10,000 people accepted 7,000 stranded travelers during the 9/11 crisis. “Let’s also consider the incredible acts of bravery we witnessed that day. And the days that humans were at their best in a small town in Newfoundland.”
149. Feels like home. Many of you shared that no matter where you live or travel elsewhere in the world, Canada always feels like home. I spent more than two years living in Europe, and as much as loved living in Switzerland, Canada will always be my home.
150. Best Place in the World to Live. According to US News, in 2017, Canada is the #2 Best Country Overall. Switzerland ranks as #1, and having lived in both countries – I can say that my heart belongs to Canada 100%.