Friday, July 12, 2024

This Weekend We Celebrate the Good Fortune of Calling Canada Home

Another Canada Day long weekend is upon us, and for me, aside from a fabulous excuse for some summer celebration fun, this holiday is also a time to reflect upon the good fortune I have received in life simply by being able to call Canada home.

I could just as easily have been born and raised elsewhere, in a less ideal nation. My mother was born in Egypt and grew up in England before my grandparents packed up everything when she was a child and moved across the ocean to Canada.

As a first generation Canadian on my mother’s side, I have always been very aware that the place of my birth is little more than a fluke, and a good one at that.

Fluke or not, Canada is my home, and while I am not the flag-waving, patriotic type, I am very aware that the 41 million of us who are fortunate enough to live here have it better than the vast majority on this planet. Not that we don’t have our problems, we most certainly do, but when viewed through a global lens, the issues that frustrate us are often minor by comparison.

On a global scale, though we are the second largest nation in the world by area, we account for just 0.5 percent of the 8.1 billion humans who inhabit this little blue ball. We might be small in number, but we are the envy of many around the world, something that can easily be forgotten as we grapple with issues big and small in our daily lives.

My appreciation for this country skyrocketed in my late 20s and throughout my 30s, as I spent a decade in my former career doing an extensive amount of travel. Over that decade I found myself on five continents and more than 25 countries. Some I visited just a time or two, while other places like Russia and the United States I have spent a significant amount of time.

What I quickly learned in my global travels was that, though we have our own problems, we have it better than most, much better in fact, and I also learned that many other nations have great respect for Canada, and for Canadians; we are seen by many around the world as a positive force, a peaceful nation, and a wealthy nation, one of the 10 wealthiest on the planet in fact, with a diverse economy, and a diverse population, a nation that welcomes and celebrates that diversity.

There is much to love about this country, not the least of which is the beautiful land itself, stolen from its rightful inhabitants, on that we can all agree. But few nations have a lily-white history, and the birth of our nation came with its own historical horrors, that in modern times we acknowledge, and attempt to reconcile in our minds. While we are celebrating our good fortune to call Canada home, I do think it is appropriate to take some time to reflect on our history, and the indigenous inhabitants of this land.

In my more than half-century I have had the good fortune to live in three of our provinces – Ontario of course, as well as northern Manitoba when I was a child, and the Fraser Valley region of British Columbia in the ’90s. No matter where I have lived in this country, there have been beautiful natural landscapes right outside my back door. Whether it be the mountains in the west, or the lakes in Manitoba, or the Georgian Bay region where I have resided for the past 19 years, with its forests and farmland along with its stunning shorelines, you really can’t beat Canada for its clean, natural beauty.

So, no matter where you are in this municipality over the coming weekend you are bound to see an abundance of red and white as the Municipality of Meaford joins the rest of this nation to celebrate Canada Day.

From urban Meaford, to Bognor and Annan, there will be no shortage of fun to be found, no matter your interests.

Our Canada Day celebrations kick off on Saturday, June 29, with a special concert to be held at Meaford Hall featuring local talent.

On Sunday, head to the Annan ball diamond for some Canada Day fun starting at 6 p.m. The Annan celebrations will feature live music, a barbeque, and loads of free activities for the kids, and of course fireworks at dusk. There is no cost for entry to the Annan Canada Day celebrations.

On Monday, July 1, Bognor will host its annual Canada Day celebrations at the Bognor Community Park beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Bognor’s celebrations will also feature live music, numerous events and activities, along with food off the grill prepared by the Rocklyn 4-H Calf Club, and a fireworks display at dusk.

While there won’t be any fireworks in the urban area of the municipality again this year, there are plenty of activities planned on July 1, with much of the action taking place in the harbour area, beginning with a pancake breakfast at the harbour pavilion, where you will also find a beer garden along with canoe tours, a Wheelie Parade, the Goldentown Cruisers, games, and live music.

At 10 a.m. on July 1, Mayor Ross Kentner will lead a land acknowledgement and flag raising ceremony, which will be followed by a special ceremony by local Indigenous speaker, educator and storyteller Heather McIntyre. The Goldenaires will then perform the national anthem while both the Canadian flag and Every Child Matters Flag will be raised. Once the flag raising is complete, the Rotary Club of Meaford will award the Citizen of the Year.

A full listing of Canada Day activities that will be taking place throughout the municipality can be found on the municipal website: http://www.Meaford.ca/CanadaDay

For me, perhaps the best thing about Canada Day is that it is the one day each year that we seem to manage to set aside all of our differences and come together as one. I don’t tend to hear people complaining about potholes or the length of the grass in our parks on Canada Day, and I don’t recall ever hearing anyone complain about provincial or federal policies on Canada Day. Instead we celebrate the good in our country, and there is much of that to celebrate indeed.

So happy Canada Day, have plenty of fun, and take some time to reflect upon the good fortune we have received simply by being able to call Canada home.

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