Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What does it mean to be Canadian?

Day 12

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.


  1. What is means to me to be a Canadian is more than saying "eh" after every sentence or watching hockey. It is more than living in igloos and saying "aboot" when really we say "about." For my opinion, we live in amazing country where it is the second largest place in the world. We live in a nation where prejudices and racism are not welcome. We live in a nation where sexuallity and religion are not questioned. And lastly, we live in a nation where freedoms and rights protect every citizen in Canada. - By the way an amazing, inspirational video. Proud to be a Canadian

  2. For me, being Canadian allows me to identify with various cultures. We live in a multicultural country. So it doesn't surprise me when I go to see and I see a car with a Canadian flag on one window and then another on the other window. Although we come from many different nationalities we all are Canadians and we support our Canadians. Go Canada Go!

  3. Canada is a place which I love the most. As I visit various countries and cities around the world, I notice almost all of their special elements. For instant, Italy I think is renown for its mind-blowing architecture, and Seoul for its extreme technology. These places are gorgeous. Of course Canada has such places too, but the reason I fell in love with Canada is not only because it has gorgeous sitings but because it has privileges that such places like Seoul doesn't.
    It is Canada, as it was mentioned above by an anonymous, where prejudices and racism are not welcome, where sexuality and religion are not questioned, and where freedoms and rights protect every citizen in Canada. In addition to all these, almost all the Canadians participate in some kind of way in their community. A young can somehow help a charity by selling cookies and a glass of milk and donating the income. Teenagers can aid their society, for example, by actually planning an event for a charity like what Ms Emily Louise and her amazing friends have done for their community in the year 2009 creating a sense of love in their community.
    Perhaps someone who read this comment may go and ask, "huh? aren't these privileges enjoyed by most of the people around the world?" The answer is no. Although it is one of the top technological countries, Korea does not allow teenagers to enjoy such privileges. In Korea, kids around 9 year old need to start going to extracurricular activities for catching up and going ahead of the others in their schools. They go to school at like 7 am and come back home around 11 at night enjoying almost no freedom at all. Since their government supports on such a system and their parents pressuring them to such environment, it is tough for them to enjoy the very same freedom like that of Canadians'. It is not only in Korea but in many countries such as in Africa where many do not even get a chance to enjoy a single privilege of the above.
    Be happy to be a Canadian and enjoy your privileges to the max!
    Sincerely Jason Parkk from Korea,
    p.s: loving your blog emily! and miss ya ;(

  4. being Canadian means
    doing your best with what comes at you
    speaking more than one language
    knowing that we are the lucky ones
    giving to others not so lucky
    singing with your shoes off
    standing up for what you believe
    dancing on maple leaves
    celebrating a collective history and uncertain future
    posting blogs and talking to other Canadians
    being proud...but not too proud