1. The wilderness
This may seem like a given to those who were born in North America, but for the ones who, like me, grew up in a crowded European country, it’s an amazing gift. Even when you live in the depths of Vancouver, escaping the populated, urban setting and find solace and solitude in nature does not take more than one hour. You can observe animals, unbothered by the presence of humans, thriving in their habitats; you can find pleasure in being the first one to step into fresh snow when going for a hike; you can appreciate the beauty and silence that comes with having space. All of us in Canada should be grateful for that.
2. The Prime Minister’s dance moves
Not many heads of government in this world can shake it to bhangra and look this cool.
3. The kindness of strangers
Outsiders always say that Canadians are unbelievably polite, but I think they’re more than that, they are kind-hearted. When I arrived in Canada for the first time, people would go out of their way to show me around, help me when I was lost, comfort me when I was down, and invite me in their families. I could hardly believe how welcoming and helpful everyone was, so I thought about it long and hard and came to the conclusion that when they live in a “hostile environment”, people seem to stick together. What’s not to like about a country where people care about each other?
4. The Prime Minister’s tastes in TV shows
5. The seasons
Although those who grew up in Canada have a complicated love-hate relationship with winter, most Canadians agree that having four, defined seasons is a treat. How could one be indifferent to the beauty of snow-covered peaks during the holidays, the relief that comes with the first day of spring, the joy of spending most of your time outdoors in the summer and the beauty of orange and yellow-coloured hills in the fall? In France, where I am from, we have one grey season and one sunny season, so I am incredibly grateful to observe and feel the passing of time through nature in Canada, whether it involves rain, scorching heat, or overcast, snowy weather.
6. The CBC
There’s no better form of entertainment in this country than its national radio. I’m not sure how the good people at the CBC manage it, but every single program broadcast is interesting and I personally can spend hours listening to it and never get bored. But if there’s one CBC man Canada should be grateful for, it’s Stuart McLean and its story-telling show “The Vinyl Café“. He will make you cry your eyes out and laugh out loud in the space of one 20-minute story. So, if you’re in Canada, get rid of your TV and buy yourself a good old-fashioned radio set. You’ll never regret it.
7. The Prime Minister’s way of handling his children
8. The creativity of its people
I’m not sure if the weather is responsible for people getting artsy (what’s left to do when there’s a blizzard outside?) or if the country’s natural beauty is what triggered such inspiration, but Canadians are very creative people. They paint, they take pottery classes, they join choirs by the boat-load, they carve, they write, they play music, etc. The amount of art classes available anywhere at any given time is impressive and even tiny communities such as the town of Nakusp, BC, and its 1,500 inhabitants organize writing workshops, basket-weaving classes, and quilting courses. There’s no better place to be in this world than a country where art and creativity are valued that much.
9. The Prime Minister’s holiday spirit
10. The open-mindedness of Canadians
Canadians don’t care where you’re from, they don’t care what your sexual orientation is, they don’t care about your dietary preferences, they don’t care about how educated you are, they just accept you as a person. Although some may say that it is not true for everyone in Canada, I can attest that it is truer there than anywhere else I’ve ever been.