Thursday, December 28, 2017

Favourite posts of 2017, #4: Made in Canada

First posted June 30, 2017


I am made in Canada. Like this old phonograph record, that came with a bilingual board game we were given at school in sixth grade. It was an optimistic, everybody's-friends collection of songs.

This weekend is the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Not everyone is delighted about that. According to certain voices of those inhabiting the northern part of this continent, my ancestors were land-robbers, murderers, and worse.

It's very confusing. I don't think that my Scottish-immigrant milling relatives thought of themselves as robber barons. Or my German-industrialist forebears who fled nineteenth-century unrest in Europe, and helped found the town of Hespeler. Or the other Scottish relatives who farmed in the bush and sang Psalms in little log and stone churches.

I don't think that's what my several-greats-grandfather was thinking about when he hauled his family up here from Pennsylvania.



Were they all wrong?

Because of them, and other bridge-builders and teachers and farmers and storytellers and members of Parliament, I am made in Canada. I have a Canadian passport, and a Canadian university degree. I have Canadian art on the walls (including a print by a local Serbian-Canadian painter). I listen to Gordon Lightfoot and Oscar Peterson. I was a Girl Guide with a maple leaf Citizenship badge. I saw Karen Kain dance in 1972, and I met Jean Chretien in 1988. I watched Polka Dot Door, Readalong, and CUCUMBER (not to mention Tiny Talent Time and Uncle Bobby). I wore snowsuits big enough for three children, and skated after school (badly). I eat Smarties and butter tarts. I think paper money should be all different colours.

Canada is my home. Happy 150th birthday to my country.

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