Canada Day has always been a special day for me, specifically one of profound love for my country and deep gratitude. My family immigrated from Scotland in 1974, sponsored by my generous Aunt and Uncle, Charles & Moira White. I’ll never forget that first car ride from the Victoria Airport on Vancouver Island as my Uncle narrated the sights, pointing out landmarks along the way. I remember looking on with awe as we passed through lush farms, brilliant green forests and pristine lakes and just when I thought it couldn’t get any more beautiful, it did. Snowy mountains seemed to stand on guard at every clearing, their stony sides falling into dark blue oceans. It was an incredible sight for our travel weary eyes and homesick hearts. Although these were foreign sights, I fell in love with it all. As I watched mesmerised, I whispered “home”, trying it on for size, giving my heart permission to feel the conflicting tug of its strings.
Seeking opportunity for our family that we wouldn’t ordinarily have had, my Dad let love lead him to Canada. Despite a sense that we’d left home for a country that soon would become home, settling had its share of challenges and I found myself cycling through the 5 Stages of Culture Shock from euphoria to disenchantment to adjustment and eventually to acceptance all wrapped up in a million happy memories along the way.
It was all worth it and today on this particular Canada Day I am grateful that I live in a country that:
- Cherishes diversity over conformity
- Values equality and justice, safety and peace
- Encourages openness, respect and compassion
- Fosters a willingness to work hard and to be there for each other
- Believes that immigration is critical to our economic success
- Proudly says sorry, boosting happiness and strengthening relationships
- Supports and stands for the human rights of LGBTQIA2S persons in the international arena
As former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker once said, “I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who will govern my country.”
Oh Canada! Today I stand a proud and free Canadian honed and sculpted by a culture where love leads. Happy Canada Day to you and yours. Stay safe and know you’re loved for all the uniqueness that is you.