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Canada Day

Story ID:2425
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Writers Conference:$500 2007 Family Memories Writing Project
Location:Halifax Nova Scotia Canada
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Canada Day

As the USA prepares for their July 4th celebrations, very
few of those planning parties or weekend trips are aware of the significance
of July 1st to their northern neighbors. I moved from Canada to the USA
in the fall of 1999 and was shocked to learn, few Americans knew anything
about Canada Day. In Canada, we all knew about July 4th. It's common knowledge.

July 1st, 2007 Canada will celebrate its 140th birthday - 140
years of confederation. The people of Canada celebrate it the same as
Americans celebrate their "big day" - parties, parades, fireworks,
cookouts, and trips. We love our day and our country. Canada Day
celebrates events that occurred on July 1, 1867, when the British
North America Act created the Canadian federal government. The BNA
Act proclaimed "one Dominion under the name of Canada," hence the
original title of the holiday, "Dominion Day." In 1982, the name
was officially changed to "Canada Day."

While writing this tribute to my country of birth, I
decided to gather some information on Canada to pass on to those
who read my stories. A lot of it I knew, but there were a few
things I didn't know. For instance, I found it interesting to
learn, Canadians eat more Kraftİ Macaroni and Cheese per capita
than any other nation. Canada has more donut shops per capita
than any other nation in the world, but also the fifth least
amount of police per capita. I guess this means Canadian police
eat a heck of a lot more donuts.

Canadians are noted as beer drinkers - I do my part.
Surprisingly, I learned in my research, we are actually rated
16th in beer consumption. The Czech republic has us beat by a
long shot. I call on all Canadians to correct this wrong.

Canada is the second largest country in the world,
second to Russia. However, it's the 9th least populated. It
has a population of thirty-three million people, one million
less than the state of California. Most of Canada is wood or
farmland. The far northern sections are frozen tundra. The
majority of the population lives along the east and west
coasts, on the edge of the major rivers, and of course the
Great Lakes. Our forefathers settled these areas hundreds of
years ago, because the waters provided food.

There are five and a half time zones in Canada. A
half you ask? Newfoundland, which only joined the federation
in 1949, to make Canada what it is today, is in a half time zone.
Newfoundland, (but not Labrador), lies squarely in the eastern
half of its time zone, exactly three and a half hours from
Greenwich. The Newfoundland government attempted to bring
the province into conformity with the other Atlantic provinces
in 1963, but withdrew in the face of stiff public opposition.
Other countries that operate on the half hour time difference
are: Suriname, Iran, India, Sri Lanka, and Central Australia.

Canada has the 6th best standard of living. In
spite of their love of Kraftİ Dinner and donuts, it is a
great place to raise a family. They, also, have the largest
surface area of fresh water, which one day may be more
valuable than oil and natural gas.

Many people, here in the USA, ask me if Canada is
mostly French speaking. I found the statistics in my research.
In a survey of what people considered their "Mother Tongue," it
was found that 59% of Canadians were English speaking, 23%
French, and 18% had either more than one "Mother Tongue," or
a "Mother Tongue" other than English or French.

Canada and the USA are sisters. We share rivers,
lakes, lands and the air itself, just as true sisters share
the same genes. As Americans hit the road on for their July the
4th weekend plans, I ask them to please raise a cheer for
their northern sister on her birthday. Canadians will do the
same on the 4th for their southern sister.

Let's all have a little extra Kraftİ dinner and a
donut, but don't forget the beer - after all, we need catch
up with the Czech Republic.

Michael T. Smith