So what’s Canajun, eh?

From sea to sea to sea, we put out the request “What’s Canada to you?” The responses covered the bases– landscape, institutions, character, bygone times. There was humour too — the dry kind. It goes well with that Canadian ‘dry cold’.

A sampling of “What’s Canadian?”

Standing at the curb waiting for the light to turn green before crossing the street when there is no traffic in sight in any direction. It’s our respect for law and order
George Morgan
*Editor’s note: Add “in minus 20 weather” to “standing at the curb”.

In winter ’94 my family and I had the pleasure of visiting Canada. One incident that took place on the first day, when we were staying at GROUSE INN in Vancouver could be truly Canadian!

After a visit to a supermart, we were waiting to cross the road back to our Inn. There was practically no traffic (except) a monster 40-foot truck, coming down the street and stopping about 100 meters from where we were waiting. The driver made a gesture asking us to cross. This simple act touched our hearts! It was the best welcome Canada could have given us!
To that unknown Citizen of Canada – THANKS! Tohe rest of Canada – Happy Birthday!
-Paul Family

When recruiting volunteers or interviewing job candidates, too often I have found the individuals unwilling to accept or describe their suitability for the job or task at hand. In reviewing resumes, I have observed that we rarely demonstrate the “sell” approach, instead we present ourselves using the “it was only…” style.  In fact, we often seem to find it difficult to accept a compliment graciously!
I guess my “bottom line” is that as Canadians we are a bit too self-effacing.

I left Canada in 1964, but have been back numerous times. A few simple things always reminded me of my homeland. Butter tarts: where else can you get them? Clean streets (Americans constantly remark on this) and Toronto’s subway cars and stations unmarred by graffiti.

French fries in paper cones, lots of salt and malt vinegar, served from white vans in the Laurentians as fall’s colours drench the mind.

And the money — every denomination of currency a different colour. No confusion there.

Finally, the invariable politeness of everyone. Perhaps that’s changing, eh? I hope not. I even miss the crisp snow cover on a cold winter’s day. But not too much! All these small things are Canada to me. Bless ’em.
-Peter and Deanna

…. There are many countries whose entirety could be swallowed in the vastness of most Canadian provinces. As a result (in these countries) university placements are severely limited, with standards of enrolment so high that only those with near Einstein capabilities stand a chance. Not so in this wonderful land, where there is equal opportunity for those with the will and determination to succeed.

I can think of no other finer example than BC’s own Len Marchand. Raised on the Okanagan Reserve Number One by illiterate parents, he and eight siblings lived in a rough wooden dwelling, 16 by twenty feet. He was the first Indian to enroll in the Vernon High School, going on to a degree at UBC and a Masters at the University of Idaho.

He became a cabinet minister in Trudeau’s Liberal government, as Minister of Environment, and is now a retired Senator with over 30 years of public service on Parliament Hill. UCC recently awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Laws, and he has been honored with the Order of Canada. A far cry from the day he rode on the back of a cattle truck on his way to Kamloops Indian Residential School.
-Thomas Langley-Smith

…I had the wonderful opportunity in 1995 to travel to Holland for the 50th anniversary celebrations to mark the end of WWII. I have never been so proud to be Canadian and to witness our "Canadian Flag" hanging by the thousands across The Netherlands.

It was my second visit to Holland. In 1986 I travelled there to find my father’s grave. He was killed in action on February 26,1945 and his remains along with two thousand other Canadians lie in Grosbeek Cemetery. Thousands of graves had flags placed, as well, the school children placed flowers upon each grave.

I am very proud to wave and display our "Canadian Flag"
—Dorothy Good

What is especially Canadian is putting the teabag in first! Have you noticed how many restaurant-servers nowadays bring you your tea with the teabag sitting on the saucer beside a teapot of hot water? Ugh! This
perversion began sneaking up during the last decade from the United States, where they don’t know how to make real tea. Let’s ‘make waves’ to restore Real tea served the Canadian way in Canadian restaurants! Yay! :)
-Meg Coulombe

What could be more Canadian than cottaging at one of our beautiful lakes
with the ever-present blackflies and mosquitoes?
-Marianne Girling

Truly Canadian things are: -Lupins alongside our main highway
-Children with rubber boots and shorts with a Canadian flag waiting for July 1 Parade
-A skidoo and a school bus in the same yard
-A million yard sales in June and July
-The Bluenose in Full Sail leaving Halifax
-Strawberry suppers for $5 in rural community centers
-Wheat farmers waving at a passing train
-Skiing straight down after landing from a helicopter
-Seniors quilting on a Canadian quilt in a rural living room
-Carving ducks and boats in a century old fish shack…
-Dave Hayes

…Canada to me is the beauty of the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean in Nova Scotia. It is the smell of cold salt air as you walk by the sea and the majestic waves of the Bay of Fundy. It is the lakes in Cape Breton and the mountains surrounding the Annapolis Valley. It is apple blossoms glowing in the Valleys of Annapolis and the St. John River. It is the red soil, potato fields, and lobster dinners of Prince Edward Island. It is the fiddle music, step dancing and singing of the Celtic descendants of the region. It is the kindness of the sea folk in Southern Nova Scotia. It is the Acadian accents and German strengths, the Irish sense of music and fun and the dour Scots, mixed with other cultures, which gives it its diversity. This is what is Canadian to me.
-Beverley Anderson