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The True North Strong and Free...

Happy 150th. Birthday Canada!! The other day at work, my friend Lesley and I were talking about the upcoming long weekend, which happens to be today...Canada Day!. There is never usually a lull in our conversations but this time, it was especially rapid fire as we breathlessly rhymed off dozens of reasons why we, as Canadians should be grateful and proud to be part of such a

magnificent country!

Here in Canada we have so much to be thankful for...we have independence and liberty, we have choice, wide open spaces and the most polite citizens where the word "sorry" and "eh" is always on the tips of our tongues.

The vastness of our land seems overwhelming to some, yet provides me with the space and solitude to nourish my soul.

We also have our four seasons and each one has it's own magical charm...spring explodes with a breath of fresh air, while summer lazes away...

...and the colourful display of autumn never fails to amaze me every single year.

Is there anything more glorious than a Canadian winter?

...I think not!

Our land is rich with wildlife...

...our friends and national treasures!

We are diverse in culture...

...and have a unique and interesting history. A major formative force in the early development of Canada as a nation, the Hudson's Bay Company, founded in 1670 by King Charles II of England, is one of the oldest continuously operating companies in the world and as such has had an enormous influence on Canadian culture. Canada also boasts one of the oldest cities in North America...that being Quebec City (formerly an Iroquois village known as Stadacona) which was founded in 1608. We should also feel an enormous sense of pride as our Canadian troops more than did their part during WW I & II and notably, liberated Holland during the German occupation of the second World War. Some of the highest decorated soldiers in the world hail from Canada with William George Barker, Tommy Prince, Ernest Smith, Alan Arnett McLeod and Leo Clarke being just a few among thousands of local heroes that we owe our freedom to today.

From coast to coast...

...our land is second to none!

We also boast an abundance of readily available and seasonal fare that is some of the finest in the world...

...if we do say so ourselves!!

We also have talent that is all our own with countless Canadian icons and stars...whether it be Stompin' Tom, Gordon Lightfoot or the Tragically Hip who made their way across Canada singing about local towns and historical events or a featured performer on "The Tommy Hunter Show"...the writings of Lucy Maude Montgomery and her iconic Anne of Green Gables or Stephen Leacock's humorous musings. Our First Nation's People introduced us to the game of lacrosse and Hockey Night in Canada saw many famous local boys chasing pucks down the ice on Saturday nights while Foster Hewitt announced every nail biting move.

There are countless reasons for us to be proud Canadians and I believe that my friend Lesley pretty much says it all with her list of reasons why she loves being a Canadian woman born in 1975 (these are her words):

1. The National Anthem - I always loved singing the anthem to start the day in school...even today, I am taken back in time when I sing the words. We would all benefit by singing it once a day..."Strong and free..." that's who I am and who I want to be.

2. 10% of the world's forest cover is in Canada and 25% of the world's intact Boreal Forest is here too! My heart belongs with the trees.

3. One of the world's most famous group of painters were at home in our wilderness...the Group of Seven.

4. Terry Fox...hands down our most notable Canadian. There has never been a stronger, more inspirational person in Canada than that boy. I can't look at a photo of Terry Fox without filling up with pride.

5. National Parks and Historic sites are free this year.

6. Health many people are always complaining about our healthcare...frankly, it's very inexpensive for us, so quit complaining!

7. Maple syrup...liquid gold that comes from a tree! (yet another reason my heart belongs to them!)

8. Buttertarts and Nanaimo bars

9. Poutine...potatoes, cheese and gravy mmmm!!

10. The Vinyl Cafe by Stuart McLean (if you haven't listened, do so!)

11. Harrowsmith Magazine...a 100% Canadian magazine that was intelligent, clever and ahead of it's time...sadly, no longer in print.

12. The Log Driver's Waltz

13. The Robertson screw...puts the Philips to shame!

14. Trivial Pursuit...I always sucked at it but loved it nonetheless.

15. Mr. Dressup and his tickle trunk

16. Bob and Doug Mackenzie and the Great White North!

17. Stan Rogers, Gordon Lightfoot, Bryan Adams, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Feist, Barenaked Ladies, K.D. Lang, Anne Murray, Maestro Fresh Wes, Blue Rodeo, Randy Bachman...

18. It's a wonderful place to be a woman. We are strong and independent living in a land of opportunities.

19. The Telephone, the Bloody Caesar, insulin ...

20. Canadian T.V shows: the Friendly Giant, Polka Dot Door, the Uncle Bobby Show, SCTV, Kids in the Hall, Danger Bay, Beachcombers, Circle Square Ranch. All classics of Canadian programming.

21. Canadians are funny: Dan Ackroyd, John Candy, Jim Carey, Martin Short, Michael J Fox, Tommy Chong, Mike Myers, Gerry Dee, Mark Kritch, Rick Mercer...

22. David Suzuki

23. Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby (I love that kid...the way he represented Canada in Sochi was wonderful)

24. WINTER! We are good at winter and get lots of it!

25. ...and last but not least, my favourite show from growing up in rural Canada,

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