What are the best things about being Canadian?

Thomas Bink
Pulse of Canada
A giant Canadian flag adorns a downtown office building as Vancouver gears itself up for the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics on February 6, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.
VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 06: A giant Canadian flag adorns a downtown office building as Vancouver gears itself up for the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics on February 6, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Monday is Canada Day. What are the best things about being Canadian?

Andy Radia: I think there's a lot of great things about being Canadian. The one thing that stands out for me – especially on Canada Day – is how inclusive this country is. My parents came to Canada as refugees from Uganda in the 1970's with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and one suitcase between them. So, at the risk of sounding cheesy, Canada Day for my family is always about remembering how blessed we were to have been welcomed by such a wonderful multicultural society where we were never handicapped by the colour of our skin, our beliefs or our ancestry. We're thankful to live in a land of opportunity where hard work and perseverance are the great equalizers. To me that's the best thing about Canada.

Matthew Coutts: I like Andy’s answer. No one can say what a Canadian is supposed to be or do or look like. We are free to be ourselves, to celebrate in our own way and love whoever we want. I like that we could ask this question to 1,000 people and get 1,000 answers.

As a Canadian, I am allowed to like Justin Bieber. Or I am allowed to be ashamed of Justin Bieber, but still appreciate Stratford, Ont. I can get overly excited when a Canadian gets drafted into the NBA, even if he ends up on a team I don’t cheer for. I don’t have to like hockey (but it helps).

I like that I can take a curling broom onto a downtown Toronto subway and only receive confused looks from half the passengers. I enjoy that many of those confused people think it might be a cricket bat.

I like that it’s not out of the realm of possibility that I might be carrying a cricket bat.

I like that I’ve been to both a Muslim and Jewish wedding in the past year or so, and that in both cases the personalities of the bride and groom were more integral to the festivities than religion.

I like that a gay pride festival in Toronto and a cowboy rodeo in Calgary are two of our country’s largest parties. And I like that some Canadians who go to both.

And I like that being Canadian is hard to define, even if beer commercials make it seem so easy.

Thomas Bink: I won’t lie … I do gripe a lot about Canada – how it can be dull, or conformist, or that the weather stinks – but it’s amazing how much I miss home when I’m in another country. I spent years in the U.S., and every time I crossed back into Canada it felt like a breath of fresh air. For all its quirks and annoyances, Canada really is one of the world’s best-kept secrets, because we’ve got it pretty good. I like the fact that we’re a cultural mosaic rather than a melting pot, that we care about our less fortunate, we’re humble and humourous. All of this annoys the hell out of me when I’m here, but I sure appreciate it when I’m somewhere else.

Radia: We all love Canada and we all love being Canadian. So why aren't we rah rah about it like the Americans? Tom, you mentioned you've spent some time in the U.S.? Have you ever been there on the fourth of July – the fireworks, the barbeques, the parties – it's a huge event. Outwardly, at least, they seem more patriotic – they seem to wave the flag a lot more than we do it here. Why is that? I'd like to see more fervor in our celebration of country, not only on Canada Day but throughout the year.

Coutts: As silly as this may sound, I appreciate that Canadians aren’t so “in your face” about our patriotism. Our modesty makes us no less proud, but it makes us much less annoying. We could pound our chests the way Americans do, but from there it is only a quick hop to arrogance. We’ve got a great thing, we know it. There’s no reason to shout about it. Let’s keep it our little secret. It’s like knowing a great brunch place. If the word gets out, the lineups get too long and the atmosphere is ruined. That’s what Canada is – a great brunch place.

Bink: Yeah, I agree with Matt on this one … we don’t need to chants or flag-waving all year round in order to be patriotic. We can show it in our deeds rather than our words. I like a good fireworks display as much as the next guy, but even Canada Day celebrations can get a little corny for us humble, self-deprecating folks. We’re Canadian, there is a certain level of pride to that, we don’t need to pound our chests about it.

So, what do you think? As we celebrate Canada Day, What do you think are the best things about being Canadian?

Have your say in the comments area below.