The opening line of our national anthem — “O Canada!” — is the ultimate proclamation of love and gratefulness towards “our home and native land”. I could relay the demographics– that Canada, based on numerous socio-economic facets, environmental factors, and overall well-being of every citizen, makes us one of the happiest countries in the world. So it is only natural we would be grateful to live on land “glorious and free”. Many non Canadians have the impression of Canadians being “nice”. And though it may seem like a generality, my personal experiences would certainly validate that impression and reinforce my pride in being, Canadian.
For me, one of Canada’s most cherished and noticeable characteristics would be its multiculturalism. It has been described as a mosaic, and this is definitely something I notice when I walk the streets of my hometown, Vancouver. Walking downtown, a plethora of cultures and medley of interesting people meet the eye. It brings vibrancy and versatile beauty to the city but also fosters an acceptance and appreciation for all different types of cultures.
As someone from a multicultural background, I have grown up to harbour a wide perspective and avid thirst for greater knowledge on different traditions all over the world. Canada, being the “mosaic” of immigrants and ultimately multiculturalism, exemplifies the paradigm of respect and appreciation for different mindsets, values, traditions, and people.
My mother is of Chinese descent and has fostered within me a deep understanding of Chinese mores and customs. I love Chinese food, language, clothing, stories, literature, music… but mostly, I love the fact that I am able to be exposed to these things not just at home but wherever I go! Vancouver itself is home to many first generation, second generation, third generation Chinese people. Wherever I go, there are people who I am able to share my experiences with on my heritage and multicultural background. Wherever I go, there are people who have been raised in families traditionally from Europe, East Asia, the Middle East, Africa… just about anywhere in the world. And I understand this is the case is not only many other major cities of Canada, but also small scale towns and tight knit communities.
“Anywhere in the world”…
This phrase brings me to my conclusive point. Having just graduated from high school this past June, I plan on furthering my education by studying political science at McGill University this fall. It’s more than the Sovereign debt crisis and irreconcilable relations between nation states with conflicting standpoints on various facets that intrigue me… it’s what living in Canada, and being Canadian has taught me: the coming together of entirely different people is not only possible but a beautiful thing when achieved. Here in Canada, we don’t just live on our own, we laugh and love with our neighbor, who thinks in an entirely different way and does things in an entirely different way but who we ultimately call our neighbor because we are united in that we are Canadian. Yes, being Canadian means we love and accept everyone and anyone.
So it is. Being Canadian means to be filled with love and compassion. This is what being Canadian through and through has taught me. This is what I have been brought up on, having been born and raised on Canadian soil. This… is what makes Canada, truly great.