Oh, Canada

I bet you thought I wasn’t going to post for Canada Day this year, but here I am, what may seem like a few days late, but it’s not. Our family had ton’s of commitments this weekend, but luckily the grand occasion of Canada’s Sesquicentennial fell on a Saturday this year, and that means that today’s a Statutory holiday as well, and bingo – there was our Canada Day together.  We had a little party with a simple premise. Bring Canadian food.

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Blog, we had the loveliest time. Poutine, ketchup chips, Hawaiian Pizza (that’s pizza with pineapple on. It’s a bizarrely delicious and Canadian idea) and Caesars and Nanaimo bars and butter tarts and oysters from PEI, and maple (and sprinkle) donuts from Tim Hortons.

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The kids laughed and played (except Elliot, who wasn’t really into Canada Day, but his dad stuck a flag into his carseat to make it look like he was in the spirit) and we all had a great time in each other’s company, and unbelievably, it didn’t rain. It was perfect.

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I always wax a little poetic on Canada Day – I’ve written so many posts where I listed wild and wonderful facts about this beautiful place, but this year, we found ourselves talking more than once about the wonderful advantages all the little people in our family have, by virtue of having the good luck to be born here.

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They live in a safe country, one that prizes inclusion, diversity, fairness and being a refuge for people all over the world. They live in a country with health care for all – a system so good that only 3% of Canadians will ever get health care in another country in their lifetimes, and most of those times are when they’re on holiday. Canadian life expectancy is 6th in all the world. (We’re beaten out by just five countries, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Australia and Sweden.) My grandson will live well into his eighties, if he’s average. (I like to think he’s way better than that.)

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He and Luis and Frankie have had the good luck to be born in the most educated country in the world, one where the literacy rate is over 99%, and the only country in the world where more than 51% of all citizens have a tertiary education –  and they will most likely be bilingual (or in Frankie and Luis’ case, trilingual.) Because they’re Canadian, they’ll probably be avid travellers, and welcome all over the world.

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Thanks to being born here – Their parents will enjoy a full year of paid parental leave (even if they were adopted) with the option of extending it to 18 months.  As they grow, they’ll enjoy the beauty of our country, no matter where they live in it, and clean air (the third cleanest in the world) and they’ll be treated with fairness, no matter who they choose to love, who they say they are, or what faith they profess, if any.  On top of all of that, they live in the same country as Santa Claus.

Hopefully they’ll learn to love the winters…

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because that’s the only downside we could think of.

Happy Sesquicentennial Canada. We’re so grateful to live here. Bonne fête!


140 thoughts on “Oh, Canada

  1. Thank you for showing in so many ways how a society can do well by doing well by its citizens and its land. You and your fellow citizens have every right to be proud and to celebrate!

  2. And you’ve got a terrific national leader.

    O, Canada, how we love thee. I wanna live there.

    Happy Canada Day.

    • I’m with you. Visited last year and it was wonderful! Don’t really care for winter, but to have the ability to live in a society which cares for its people (and I know there are problems, but in general), it would be wonderful. I used to live in such a country …

  3. Nearly fifty years ago, I vacationed for about a week, in Toronto. I have never stopped wishing I was born Canadian.

  4. Many of us south of your border wish we enjoyed such acceptance, rights and privileges. We envy your country and its people.

    Happy belated Canada Day!

  5. Oh I was hoping for a Canada Day posting. I love them and I love your family. One day how about the recipes for all these goodies?

    Also one day could we have a blog about Trudeaus socks? I want more of them. Anybody got a sock picture with him?

    • Claire, if you send me your e-mail address I will send you my recipe for Nanaimo Bars (only made at Christmas in this household). I’m a Yankee, but my M-I-L lived in the Pacific Northwest all her life and she shared her recipe with me. jcwellesATgmailDOTcom.

  6. Malcolm Gladwell was featured the other day on Meet the Press, talking about the train wreck that is the US presidency and the efforts to destroy the last administration’s work to provide health care, contrasting that with the decisions Candadians made years ago.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/meet-the-press-24-7/meet-press-july-2-2017-n779056 – search for Gladwell on the page, second occurrence.

    I remember when Bush the younger was president and people said he was the kind of guy you wanted to have a beer with – though he had given up alcohol under threat of his wife leaving him. I don’t necessarily want the president, or a brain surgeon (should I ever need one and I hope not) to be someone I wanted to have a beer with. I want someone smart, supremely competent, willing to work his tail off, and interested in doing the best they can for the most people. We haven’t got that.

    How hard is it for a US retiree (almost any day now) to move to Canada? I’m jealous.

    • Work her tail off, thank you. And I’m also sick and tired of living in a country where I have to defend and justify that statement when liberals flap Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin in my face. I don’t recall liberals attacking other liberals for voting Obama by bringing up Idi Amin, and yet …

      We have a long, long way to go as a country, and we seem — both liberals and conservatives — to have decided it’s not worth the trip.

  7. How lucky are we all indeed. I’m reminded of my luck every day, and thank my grandparents for coming from Eastern Europe and making their home in this wonderful country.

    Here’s to all of us lucky Canadians.

  8. The older I get, the more thankful, grateful, and gob-smacked I become that I had the good luck to be born in Canada. Happy 150th to the greatest place in the world to call home. And many more, I hope.

  9. I look forward to this post every year. Happy Canada Day to you and your family. Elliott, you will love celebrating Canada with your family, in time.

  10. Happy Canada Day! I’ve often thought of exercising my right to dual citizenship because I’m first generation American with Newfoundland roots (don’t laugh!), even more so in the past few months. Your list makes the temptation so strong that I might make the leap – so much paperwork, but maybe so worth it!

  11. Thank you for not rubbing our noses in the fact that you have the amazing and wonderful Justin Trudeau, and those of us south of your border have a mad man. We need no reminder that our country is suffering. My son is studying abroad in France this summer or we would have come to Canada to celebrate. He especially adores Ottawa but we have never found a part of Canada that was anything less than spectacular.

  12. Happened to travel from Minnesota to Thunder Bay Ontario over the big 150 Canada Day weekend. Having a wonderful time, trying to fit in all things Canadian. Tomorrow Tim Horton’s. Did you forget All Dressed potato chips? Discovered those yesterday. There may or may not be a trunk full on our way back over the border!

    • Old Dutch All Dressed chips may not be easily available east of Manitoba/Northern Ontario. Stephanie is just going to have to visit Winnipeg again, it’s been too long or have I somehow missed her?

  13. I wonder if I’m a real Canadian because I don’t like either ketchup chips or Hawaiian pizza but, on the other hand, I love Nanaimo bars and butter tarts and I’ve been known to quaff a few Caesars. If I can substitute Old Dutch potato chips for the ketchup chips and pass on the pizza then I’m good with that menu. If you had invited me then I would have brought bannock with saskatoon berry jam which is heavenly.

    • It is a complete surprise to me that pineapple (and ham) on pizza is a Canadian thing. I was in London England when I first had it. Never heard of it before – and I would have remembered it because it was SO good! But I was with some Aussies (from work) at the time and they knew exactly what an Hawaiian pizza was.

  14. Maybe our national sport of grousing about the winter weather is because we don’t have a lot of more serious things to complain about.

  15. Happy Canada Day! My parents lived in Regina, Saskatchewan, for a couple years and brought the love of Nanaimo bars home to Oregon. Yours look very yummy. I’ll have to remember July 1 now. It’s a great reason for an treated indulgent treat, besides celebrating our friends to the north.

  16. I always look forward to your Canada Day posts, because I always learn something interesting, and this year was no different. I love all the stats! Thanks for sharing, and Happy Canada Day from a Los Angeleno praying our state (and my neighborhood especially) doesn’t go up in flames tomorrow (July 4, our Independence Day) from idiots with fireworks.

  17. We have Hawaiian pizza in Australia too – I didn’t know that it was eaten in other countries. And we have chocolate caramel slice which looks a lot like your picture. Maybe there’s a link between these delicacies and life expectancy? Given the sugar/salt/processed meat focus, possibly not

  18. When I visited my son and daughter-in-law in Ottawa 18 months ago they said I had to try poutine, squeaky cheese curds and Beaver Tails. I loved the beaver tails!

  19. Love the way you are proud of your country and how you love it. Sounds a lot like ours.

    So much that one thing can’t be true:
    “On top of all of that, they live in the same country as Santa Claus.”
    Um, no, they don’t.

    Greetings from Finland. 😉

    • ❤️❤️❤️

      We Canadians will share Santa with you.
      In Ontario there is a place called Santa’s Village where you can visit year round.

      • Bracebridge, Ontario….and the sign on the highway has proudly proclaimed for decades, your arrival at the 45th parallel “Halfway to the North Pole”

  20. And in addition to all those blessings (except the pizza, which sounds revolting), you have Louise Penny, Guy Gavriel Kay and the ghost of Leonard Cohen! But I could never get used to the winters in most of Canada. Happy Canada Day to you all!

  21. Happy Canada Day! … only – you have all these wonderful things, and Justin Trudeau to boot, so please don’t claim Santa, who – as everyone knows – lives in Greenland.

  22. I have to agree Stephanie, Canada is a great country and I am a proud Canada. But that downside, winter, did me in eventually and I moved to Portugal, 300 days of sunshine per year, winter is a bit of rain. Downside…nearest good LYS is 2.5 hours away, so it is online shopping now. But it does not stop me knitting, 3 knitting machines, and hand knitting in the evenings. If only Canada had agreed to adopt the Turks and Caicos…

  23. As a first/second generation Canadian, I am so glad this is where my parent/grandparents came. The great country of freedom, tolerance, clean water, trees (and rocks and rocks and trees and….) and so much openess in both people and spaces. How lucky I am, eh.

  24. Happy Canada day! I always love learning about your beautiful country from these posts. Glad to hear you had such a lovely celebration with your family.

  25. I loved reading the comments as much as Stephanie’s post!
    Hawaiian pizza is yummy. The pineapple gets all roasted and taste so good.
    I had to google search Santa Claus. Very interesting history.
    Happy Canada Day!

  26. Thank you Canada, for taking in my parents after WWII and giving them the beginnings of a future. They did, however, move to California because they couldn’t take the winters in Ottawa.

  27. My great-grandparents came to the US by way of Quebec, and we still have distant relatives up there. I often think it would be lovely to move up, but alas.. my love for winters is small (and I live in NH).

    Happiest of Canada Days to you all. XOXO

    • My parents came from England to Montreal, where we spent one year before moving south to Long Island, NY. These days, I sometimes wished they’d stayed …sigh. Happy Canada Day

  28. And Justin Trudeau!

    We have Hawaiian pizza here too. I thought it was a US thing. I wonder if every country has Hawaiian pizza and thinks it comes from their country. 🙂

    Your post makes me want to move to Canada too. I hope the US catches up to your beautiful country soon. Imagine what we could do if we had all the stuff you wrote about and mild winters too! (I’m in CO, so the winters here get cold and snowy, but not for very long at a time. It snows, it’s cold, but then it all melts and we have a few warmish days between cold ones.)

  29. I have always loved Canada – but over the years of being a faithful blog member I’ve learned so much more about your beloved country and therefore have come to love it with more depth and appreciation. We are in a very difficult time in US history – it’s horrifying. Looking to our friends north of us gives me hope.

    I have never even heard of ketchup chips! Enjoy and Happy Canada day to all of you!

  30. Nanaimo Bars! Lovely squares of Molar aching yumminess. I bet you can’t eat…(pick a number other than one). Grab a cup of coffee and yum away.

  31. I love your blog-but especially around Canada day. It makes me wish I was born there! Hopefully the US will get it’s ass in gear at some point and start doing wonderful things for it’s people again.

  32. Reading this even later than when you posted it because…well…I spent yesterday in the Central AB sunshine stitching and knitting…and running inside from the Inevitable Late Afternoon Thunderstorm. Happy Canada Day — and Happy July 4 to our American friends, eh? Hugs!

  33. Happy Canada Day to you and yours! And cheers to the gods for our differences and still being able to be friends. From a USA reader.

  34. This was a big news year for Hawaiian pizza. The president of Iceland caused a pizza furor by saying he would ban it if he could, and the Greek-Canadian who invented it in Chatham, Ontario over 50 years ago, died last month. But obviously, Hawaiian pizza lives on!

  35. Thanks for another great Canada Day post! I too always look forward to them.
    I am so thankful my parents decided to move to Canada.
    I have been learning a lot from the Resist 150 or Canada 15,000 protestors this year. Canada has quite a ways to go to resolve issues with the original indigenous inhabitants but at least now it is being discussed. The media have been publishing some good lists of aboriginal authors to investigate.
    I hope the North Americans had an excellent long weekend!

  36. Every year you write a wonderful post like this, and every year I wish I were born Canadian. This year, that wish is even a stronger. Happy belated Canada Day.

  37. Happy Sesquicentennial Canada and Bonne Fête to you! Every year I love the Canada Day post more, and this is no exception.

    It makes me weep for what we have not yet accomplished in the U.S. I still hope and celebrate our Independence Day waving our flag.

  38. I wanted to say I was jealous and so much more .
    Then I read the comments and it’s all there !
    I am a 76 yr old American and can’t believe what has happened here .
    But I am flying my flag and still have hope !

  39. Speaking from south of the border, this was extremely painful to read this year. Maybe one day we will catch up with you, but that day seems further off than ever now. At least, though, we have your example and know that it CAN be done. Someday. Somehow. Maybe.

  40. Heya! Hope you all did a bit of reading and thinking about the indigenous peoples of Canada and their treatment by the government. Here’s a decent read for you http://nationalpost.com/g00/news/politics/indigenous-protesters-shut-down-news-conference/wcm/8fe4de3c-92ad-45e1-a39e-99cff8019cb2

    I’m really impressed with Trudeau’s response and congratulate you on … welll… not letting it turn into a violent attack on protestors (guess what country I’m from?). Keep up the cool knitting, keep up the social justice work.

  41. Every year when you write your piece about Canada I think about what a nice place it sounds to live. Today is the 4th of July and even though I have lived for the last 30+ years in France, we did our annual American picnic get together. But our pride in our country has changed a lot over the years, most of us are not so proud to be Americans anymore, for many embarrassed and even ashamed comes closer to the truth. Its great you have the good fortune to be a citizen of a country of which you are proud…I have fond memories of that moment in time.

  42. Winter is beautiful here, I wish It were more consistently cold all winter here in southern Ontario, but the key to enjoying it is to embrace it and get outdoors, which makes coming back inside even more warm and cozy. Even the -40 of the prairies is something to celebrate and enjoy in my books! (And yes I’ve been there and done that)
    Happy Canada Day (acoupke days later) to all

  43. It’s the 4th of July here, and I am like a 12th generation American, so this is as patriotic as I ever get. And yet, once again, reading your paean to Canada, I feel a twinge of envy. Ok, more than a twinge–a big jolt of it. It’s too late for me now to pull up roots, but I half-hope my daughter, currently single and living in Boston, emigrates to Canada before she decides to start a family. You have so much to be proud of!

  44. Happy belated Canada Day! I always appreciate reading your tributes to your amazing country. So much to be proud of. Oh that we here in the U.S. might follow some of Canada’s example. Anyway, I’m so happy that Canada is such a great, humane place. It’s nice to have you as neighbors.

  45. I was wondering whether everything was OK when there no post on 1 July!

    Happy 150th!

  46. Yes, you and your family are very fortunate to be Canadians! You live in a country that values every one of its citizens and believes in taking care of them. While I am not fond of winter, despite having grown up and lived in a part of the US that has winter much like Canada, I’d be happy to put up with it if I could move to your lovely country. Glad you enjoyed a special day with your family, especially those adorable little ones!

  47. Happy Canada Day. No country is perfect. Canada has its winter and we have 32-33C heat all year round. TY for reminder what we often forget to give thanks for : good subsidised healthcare, safe living environment, good friends, food and time to enjoy knitting & grandchildren.

  48. All true and wonderful how Canada works it out. Please keep working it out.

    I do love the Canadian National Anthem – so sweet.

  49. Santa Claus made me laugh out loud because I was once present during a debate between a Finn, a Norwegian and a Swede about which of THEIR countries play host to Santa. Must be a Northern thing…

  50. Sending lots of love to our favorite neighbors up north. I am fortunate enough to be taking TWO trips to your lovely country this year – one this weekend to our friend’s lake house in Douro-Dummer and the second in September to Nova Scotia.

  51. Can we just call it Canadian Pizza? I was born and raised in Hawaii, I can assure you no one wants that attributed to the state.

    Happy Canada Day!

  52. My 2 year old daughter loves the snow so much that even now, in July, she talks about wanting to play in it. Thanks for making me smile. I love a reminder about how lucky my family is to be Canadian.

  53. You have a lovely country- I enjoy it every time I visit and count the US fortunate to have such a lovely neighbor. And I love Nanaimo bars- I need to make some now!

  54. All great things to be envied and emulated by those of us who live south of the border, as well as the rest of the world, but, come on, Stephanie, it would do you good (really it would) to list a few things that need improvement. I’m sure there are some.

  55. I always look forward to your love-letters to our nation, thank-you. We too spent some of the day counting our blessings. And tried to focus none of our day on the politics of other places, just one day.

    I know little Elliot will grow up proud to celebrate his homeland – he already looks like a little Diefenbaker!

  56. Happy Be-lated Canada Day!
    I love these posts. I have never tried most of the foods on your list. I have had fries with gravy, just no cheese. My mom never let us have the bars and Butter Tarts were strictly for Christmas. But what I will always be grateful for is the Canadian Heath Care system. My heart remains Canadian even though I live in the States.

  57. Yum – Nanaimo bars! It’s been way too long since I’ve had them. The Ceasar’s I didn’t care much for (and can now get all of the ingredients here much to my Uncle’s delight (he’s Canadian and always complained on visits he missed them)). Thanks for sharing the day with pics. Maybe the LCBO Food & Drink magazine will have a recipe for Nanaimo bars.

  58. National healthcare can be good, unless you’re told you have to wait for over a year for a much needed surgery. Oh well nothing is perfect nor even near perfect.

  59. Every year I read your Canada post (quickly because if I paid too close attention I’d get depressed that I don’t live there). I’m always asking people these days what kind of country they want to live in here, and only rarely do I get an answer, maybe they don’t want to consider it. There’s a Canadian expat who comes to our spinning group and she’s always bitching about how bad the health care was, I can’t imagine she really thinks it’s better here… Keep on being as decent a society as you are, maybe eventually people elsewhere will catch on.

    • 57,000 Canadians came to the USA for healthcare in the us in 2015; because they couldn’t get in in a timely way or at all in Canada. I think it says a lot that people are willing to come South and pay AGAIN for healthcare they already paid for in Canada.

  60. TWELVE months of PAID parental leave? With the option of going up to EIGHTEEN???? Be still my heart. I have nine grandchildren, and without exception their Mommies had to go back to work WAY sooner than they were ready because they couldn’t afford to stay home with their babies. That alone is worth the move north.

  61. Happy belated Canada Day! Sitting here in Michigan, in my Canada 150 shirt, purchased in Stratford. One more reason to love Canada!!

  62. I never realized how many food preferences were passed down from my (nearly) Canadian grandmother. (Her mother was working for an uncle in New York when she was born, or she would have been born in Canada.) Thank you for giving me a glimpse of my heritage. Happy (belated) Canada Day!

  63. Canada is a beautiful, clean, kind country, and I pray with all my heart it stays that way. If I could afford to move there, I would…

  64. I loved my visit to Canada; but I’ve never wanted to live anywhere but the United States. I wouldn’t trade our Bill of Rights for “free” anything. I am really sad to see so much American self hatred and hatred for those Americans with a conservative bent, in the comments. Oh well, I think that is part of the point of Stephanie’s Canada Day post

  65. My daughter is getting married a Canadian in April (we’re Australian) and I was very cheered by this post. It’s still a very long way away, but it’s nice to hear so many good things about it! And even though the life expectancy is marginally worse, the parental leave sounds awesome!

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