I have had to think a lot about the Canadian 'identity' since I have been travelling, because a lot of people are curious just exactly what makes a Canuck different from our neighbours, the Americans. It is something I explain to new friends, my students, my co-workers, you name it. And here is the thing: I didn't realize just how proud I am to be from the land of the maple leaf until I had spent a significant amount of time away from it. I enjoy letting people guess where I am from, because no one ever assumes Canada, and usually these guesses cover pretty much anywhere in western Europe, (lately a lot of people have been saying France) but the Canadian flag on my backpack should make this a fairly easy game to play. With the Olympics about to take place in Vancouver, and visitors from every corner of the globe about to see the splendor of that little corner of my country, my feelings of national pride are burgeoning. I would like to consider for a moment the "I am Canadian" rant used as an advertisment nearly a decade ago...
I'm not a lumberjack,
or a fur trader...
and I don't live in an igloo
or eat blubber, or own a dogsled...
and I don't know Jimmy, Sally or Suzy from Canada,
although I'm certain they're really, really nice.
I have a Prime Minister,
not a President.
I speak English and French,
and I pronouce it ABOUT,
NOT A BOOT.
I can proudly sew my country's flag on my backpack.
I believe in peace keeping, NOT policing.
DIVERSITY, NOT assimilation,
AND THAT THE BEAVER IS A TRULY PROUD AND NOBLE ANIMAL.
A TOQUE IS A HAT,
A CHESTERFIELD IS A COUCH,
AND IT IS PRONOUCED 'ZED' NOT 'ZEE', 'ZED'!
CANADA IS THE SECOND LARGEST LANDMASS!
THE FIRST NATION OF HOCKEY!
AND THE BEST PART OF NORTH AMERICA!
MY NAME IS JOE!
AND I AM CANADIAN!
This Joe Canada dude seems to know what he is talking about, but I have a few more things to add.
'Colour' and 'color' are both correct spellings, and I say 'hey' not, 'eh,' and definitely not 'huh?' It is incorrect (and supremely annoying) to call a Canadian 'American,' even if you are referring to North America as opposed to the US, or to assume that American English is the language spoken north of the border.
Canada is a fairly distinct country, combining both a British and American influence, and enriched by the multitude of other ethnicities that color our towns and cities with a truly international flavour.
God (or allah or ganesha or buddah...) keep our land,
Glorious and free,
From far and wide,
we stand on guard for thee...