Walking down the streets of Vancouver these days, it's hard to ignore the Canadian spirit. Red has become the dominant colour, maple leaves make a fashion statement. There are tattoos and painted faces and flags springing from behind ears or within pockets. The crush of fans frequently break out into patriotic rounds of Oh Canada.
All this enthusiasm for our nation makes me wonder, however, what exactly it is that we are so proud of. So I hit Downtown, camera in hand, and asked some Canadian fanatics what it means to them to be Canadian. Their answers are in the video below.
As for me, I think that being Canadian is an outlook on life.
It is the gritty determination of Dominique Maltais, the Canadian snowboarder. Maltais was in her second run during the qualifying round of Women's Snowboard X, when she wiped out at the base of a hill. The run was in rough condition that day, and Maltais wasn't the only competitor to fall. She was, however, one of few who stood back up, despite the fact that after such a horrendous fall, there was no way she could possibly qualify. Dominique Maltais then proceeded to orient her board sideways, hop up the hill, and continue her ride to the end of the run.
Being Canadian is also found in more simple demonstrations. It is the smile of the friendly college student who kindly directed me off the skytrain and onto a bus that would get me to UBC in time for Women's Hockey. It is the chorus of cheers that echo "Go Canada Go!" at Curling, but refuse to follow the lone man booing our opponents. It is the appreciation in the eyes of pedestrians walking along the waterfront, soaking in the beauty of the North Shore mountains.
I think that being Canadian is understanding that you don't have to compromise peace while fighting for your beliefs, and that culture - in every form - is a cause for celebration. It is a youthful sense of inquisitiveness. Most of all, however, I think that being Canadian means that you can be who you want to be, that you can take your Canadian identity, and shape it into whatever the world is in need of.
No wonder there are so many fans out there.
Now I want to know what you think! Comment and tell me what it means to you to be Canadian.