Our Home and Native Land – Happy Canada Day!

what it means to be CanadianAs a second generation Canadian, I learned of my grandparents’ struggle in their country of birth and how they eventually exited from persecution to our fair nation. In 1896, my maternal grandparents landed in Canada to not only initiate an enhanced life, but also to spawn the birth of many generations that were to establish their strong roots. In a special program, they were slated to be farmers and given a tiny plot of land in Saskatchewan. As city folk from a large European country, they were dumfounded as to how to build their own home, work the fields and forge a new life. But forge and build they did – their way. After all, this mighty land recognizes freedom of choice.

The Metis Natives gave the young family assistance to build their home – at first an underground, rudimentary home and then a log cabin. My grandparents were forever grateful. The family grew to include six children and life was challenging. My grandmother, a former gown designer had few (if any) gowns to design, although her talents thankfully allowed her to sew all the family’s clothing. My grandfather, a musician, needed to find steady work for his burgeoning family and became a merchant. However, they found other ways to enliven their own lives as well as the lives of others. With a history of musicians, artisans and merchants in their family backgrounds, Canada was fertile ground for their talents.

Their children (my mother as one of them) started a family band and toured through Saskatchewan (even at jails) to entertain and bring levity to many who faced harsh lives on the Prairies. Each ensuing generation pursued education; some started businesses, pursued the arts and others attained unusual goals. As a result, our family members deepened their contributions to Canada in many different and profound ways.

I am so proud to be a Canadian. We are regarded as friends to all wherever we travel in the world. We are free to pursue our dreams; reside in a democratic country and were able to maintain a stable economy when our neighbours were failing during the last recession. My husband and I both had uncles who fought in World War II to preserve the rights of human beings, so that our country can be free.

Never take for granted that we celebrate freedom of speech, freedom to vote, freedom of the press and freedom to pursue our goals regardless of our gender, age, race or religion. Canada Day will be marked by our family as a day to celebrate and reflect on our rich and breathtaking natural resources and the countless qualities of this great land that we collectively continue to develop. To all Canadians and to those who are not Canadian and have the benefit to reside here, Happy Canada Day!!