What Does it Mean to Me to be Canadian?

I’ve blogged what it feels to be a part of the patriotic feel working at an American school.  Today, while soaking in a hot bubble bath (one of my favourite thinking places!!) I started thinking  American pride and patriotism that led me to think about what does it mean to me to be a Canadian?  I have only ever lived on the East Coast side of Canada – so my perspective would be what does it mean to be an East Coast Canadian. Michael came in to visit while I soaked in the tub, and I started telling him my thoughts on what does it mean to me to be a Canadian.  Michael said to be American is to patriotic and to be from Saudi is to be a patriarch.  So what does it mean to be an East Coast Canadian?

I like the patriotic feeling I get at the American school. It evokes a powerful feeling that I belong to something bigger than myself.  I don’t think East Coast Canadians are as patriotic as Americans, we’re more multicultural because of Pier 21 (this is my Nova Scotian bias because Pier 21 is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia).  When my grandmother was in her twenties she worked at Pier 21, where immigrants arrived on ships to the port of Halifax to start new lives in Canada. On the docks of Halifax is where many immigrants took their first steps on Canadian soil!!! As well, Ellis Island, New York welcomed millions of immigrants into America to start new lives! The Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island is a proud symbol of freedom, and a welcoming sight to immigrants of the possibilities and excitement of fulfilling the American Dream!!!  But no such powerful symbol, that I know of, to evoke emotions of hope and a new future in Canada is at Pier 21.

So, what symbol, what “thing”, what personality trait and way of being is distinctly East Coast Canadian???  What makes me proud to be Canadian?  What makes me proud to be from the East Coast?  What makes me feel that I’m a part of something bigger than myself, that something bigger than myself is my country, Canada?

Friendly.  To be Canadian is, generally speaking, to be friendly.  On more than one occasion since I’ve arrived here in Qatar and during our travels to Oman and Egypt, when asked where I’m from and I answer Canadian…those who ask me agree that I’m Canadian like because Canadians are friendly.

Hockey. I’ve never been one for hockey.  Hockey is Canada’s game.  Therefore, that’s one important way of feeling Canadian that I’m missing out on.

Snow.  Winter.  Rain after it snows to turn everything to dirty slush. Cold weather.  Dampness. Changing seasons.  Now I’m starting to feel Canadian as I talk about weather.  East Coast Canadians have more months of winter than any other season.

Ocean.  Atlantic Ocean. Playing on, in and near the ocean. A cold, unforgiving ocean that warms up enough during the months of August and the first few weeks of September to swim in without losing all feeling in your body.  Well, for this Nova Scotian gal!  Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick have the warmer waters of the Northumberland Straight (I know because I kayaked across the Northumberland Straight!!!) and Newfoundland (I’m sad to say I’ve haven’t visited, YET! There is kayaking to be done there…!!!!!!!!) is, as I’ve heard MANY stories over the years, is either just starting to thaw and dig out from under winter or starting the winter season………

Am I really writing this…..Tim Horton’s coffee.  ????   I don’t know if the media machine of Tim Horton’s has influenced me to think this, or I actually believe it?  I don’t really like their coffee.  But, I like it when I drink it.  Weird that way.  And I haven’t had a Tim Horton’s coffee here in Doha (yes, they are here too!!!) to have a taste of home.  So, I think the media machine of Tim Horton’s has affected me!

Sobeys and Atlantic Superstore grocery stores.  Mostly Sobeys because Sobeys was founded in Nova Scotia.

Maple syrup.  Real Nova Scotian maple syrup like Acadian Maple Syrup on my mom’s homemade crepes!!!!!!!!!!  YUMMY!!!!!!

Kitchen parties!!!!!!!!!!  To be an East Coast Canadian is to have kitchen parties with lots of beer, food and music!!!!!  I have many childhood memories of my grandparents who were then living in Cape Breton having kitchen parties with my grandfather playing the fiddle, someone playing the spoons with lots of laughter and fun.  That, FOR SURE is an East Coast Canadian thing…..well, and drinking beer period is a part of being an East Coaster for sure!!!!  We love our beer!!!

I’m going to stop here.  First, I’m hungry and have curry beef with sweet potatoes ready for an early supper.  Second, I still want to think about this……..and see if I can find other ways that define what it means to me to be an East Coast Canadian gal!!!!!

Love, Stephanie  xoxo





2 Comments Add yours

  1. shirley trottier says:

    Stephanie, you did a great job on this Canadian Blog!!! The grass always look greener, so the saying goes..then we all start missing our own back yard. You are and alway will be an East Coast Canadian gal!!!!! Only enjoy the green grass of the world while you can. NS will see you when you are ready. I miss not having you in my yard in NS.
    See it goes both ways.( smile ) love & missing you mama xoxoxo

  2. Michael says:

    I agree with Mama… this is a particularly well written and inspirational blog. You have done well with this blog business my beautiful wife… xo

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