Why I love Canada. I love a country where the population in an open-ended popularity contest for the Greatest Canadian in History voted not for the greatest general or sexiest celebrity, but the man who brought us health care. I love that Canadians are more likely to apologize when you bump into them, than give you a hard time. I love that Canada is in love with its own wilderness. That roof racks are for canoes and kayaks and bikes. I love that our twenty dollar bills celebrate the art of Bill Reid, and that his mythical Haida war canoe, Spirit Canoe, on that $20 lives in over-size bronze at the entrance to our embassy in Washington D.C. I love that one of the most popular shows on our public radio network features a soft-spoken humorist and story-teller, unafraid to make our eyes well up in sentimental teariness. I love that small-town Canada still has front porches and even big cities have identifiable neighbourhoods, with play parks and common space. I love that the national sense of humour is self-deprecating. I love that our writers (Margaret Atwood, Farley Mowat, Alice Munro, Anne Marie MacDonald, and on and on) are stunning and that local music scenes exist with loyal followers in each part of the country. I love that my brother and sister-in-law in Cape Breton host a Gaelic language radio programme on the Acadian French Community Radio station, and that their Gaelic show is syndicated to the Scottish Highlands. I love that Canada still has room for eccentrics.
I love that Canada is beautiful and that the beauty is not skin-deep.