As patriotic Canadians, we feel the need to mention that today is the 142 Anniversary of the British North American Act of 1867 which united the four provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. Back in 2003 when I drove past Confederation House, where it was signed, on Prince Edward Island, I felt a strong twinge of Canadian Pride.
It has been very enlightening to view Canada from the outside and to see what others think about it. I used to think that Canada was pretty much the same on a world scale as any other white dominated, developed nation (like the US and most European countries). I suddenly see now that much of what makes Canada famous really is unique. Its rugged outdoor and vast expanses reputation really is deserved. I took it for granted that I interacted with nature everyday and that going camping was as simple as driving a short distance. Wildlife really does abound in Canada and there really are tons of great fishing lakes scattered all over. There are many Canadians who will disagree with me, but they are the ones who generally stay in the cities!
Thats the other thing... I love that Canadian cities are nice and small. I don't think any city will seem big after Beijing (except the ones that actually are bigger like Mumbai, Shanghai and Tokyo). Chinese cities in general are very good at packing a huge number of people into a small space via towering apartment buildings. When you are crowded by buildings, crowded by the throngs of people and vendors on the side walk, crowded on the bus and even crowded on the playground, it doesn't really matter how big the city is... you are just crowded! Canadian cities are wonderfully open and sprawling. 3 Beijings make 1 Canada.
Canada really does have an assortment of cultures. The Chinese people here think that we must be terribly talanted to be able to cook Italian, Greek, American, German, Ukranian, French, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Ethiopian etc. cuisine. It has never stood out to us that in Canada we eat a variety of ethnic foods, but here in China it has become very obvious. Chinese people eat Chinese food... nothing else. Of course this makes sense and there is nothing wrong with that. But it makes us realize that there is, in essence no such thing as Canadian food.
Here is a peak into our favorite parts of Canadian History. James loves the voyageurs. He would love to dress like a Voyageur, have a chance to speak his French fluently and throw himself into canoeing and portaging. A few Christmas' ago, I made him a beaded Voyageur scarf, and in the winter he would not venture outside without tying it snuggly around his waist. I have personally always enjoyed the early exploration and settlement era. Jaques Cartier and Alexander Mackenzie. The settling along the St. Lawrence River. The cunning of Generals Wolfe and Montcalm in the battle at the Plains of Abraham. I have a great picture of me rolling down a hill at the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City.
So here's to Canada, a wonderful place to call my home. Happy Canada Day!