Today, 1 July 2010 is Canada’s 143rd birthday and this date each year is known as Canada Day. It is a public holiday and right across the country in every province (10) and territory (3) events are held to celebrate our country, its history and its people. For example, in our own town of Abbotsford, BC the publicly organized festivities will begin with a pancake breakfast and be followed late morning by the annual (and very popular) parade. During the afternoon there will be fun events for children, including hayrides, activities for all ages and two stage shows. In the evening the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra will present a concert, titled “With Glowing Hearts.” The day will conclude at 10:00pm with a fireworks display.
Canadians, be they Canadian born or like us, immigrants who have taken Canadian citizenship, are extremely proud of their country. It was recently announced that our population has just exceeded 34 million people.
Canada occupies more than 50% of North America and its border with the United States is the longest international border in the world. To the north Canada stretches to the North Pole and to the south to the 49th parallel of latitude (N). Topographically it has everything from the frozen north to the mild, benign southern border, the northern section of the mighty Rocky Mountains, lush and fertile valleys, lakes and rivers in abundance, extensive forests, glorious coastlines on both east and west coasts and very productive prairies which, along with the adjoining US prairies to the south have been called “the bread basket of the world.”
Canada’s first inhabitants were people who crossed the Bering Strait from Asia thousands of years ago, when what is now a strait was probably a land bridge. It is also likely that settlers in ancient times came from the south. Their descendants are known appropriately as “First Nations.” They are a proud and talented feature of the mosaic of people who comprise the Canadian population.
The first Europeans to visit were likely Vikings who landed on the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador about AD 1000. Archaeological evidence of this has been found but no evidence that they stayed. The explorer John Cabot visited the Atlantic coast in 1497 but it was the French explorer Jacques Cartier who came in 1534 and established a French presence. English fishing outposts were established in Newfoundland in 1610 and English presence spread, including the Hudson’s Bay Company which was incorporated in 1670. It exists to this day and remains the oldest commercial corporation in North America. In 1759 the Battle of the Plains of Abraham gave the British the upper hand of power. On 1 July 1867 Canada was proclaimed a Confederation – “one Dominion under the name of Canada.”
Canada is a nation with two official languages – English and French. The province of Quebec retains a strong, distinct French flavour in its society and culture. Quebec City is beautiful and, in our opinion, is the most European style city in North America.
Canada has been our home for over 35 years. We love Britain, the land of our birth and upbringing. We shall forever be grateful for what Britain gave us and cherish the many friends and remaining family that we have there. We also love Canada, the country that welcomed us, adopted us and opened the door for three and a half decades (thus far) of fulfilling life and ministry to which we believe the Lord called us here. I can say that we are as patriotic towards Canada, our adoptive country, as we would have been had we been born here.
Happy birthday Canada – we love you.
Acknowledgment of source material:
The Illustrated History of Canada edited by Craig Brown.
Pub: Lester and Orpen Dennys