Thanksgiving weekend is upon us in Canada. I am most thankful for family, food, and friends as usual but since I’m blogging “Canadiana” let us give thanks for all the blessings we enjoy in this wonderful political entity called Canada. Canadians complain about the weather, about our politicians, about our hockey teams, about too much of this and not enough of that but really, we have a lot to be thankful for. Here are just ten things:

  1. First Nations. Before there was Canada there were many nations. They have been hospitable and humble hosts even though we brought some really bad gifts from Europe.
  2. Geography: coastal beaches, mountains, deserts, prairies, forests, muskeg, rolling meadows, and the Canadian Shield—a unique collection of rock, lakes, and trees that covers almost half of Canada.
  3. Road Trips to explore the above. The Trans-Canada Highway that runs from coast to coast is the ultimate one. We traveled it in 2007 as a family of 6 in a mini-van [Check out the pictures under “Slide shows”], although we did not do the Newfoundland section which is on my bucket list.
  4. The People. If the USA is a melting pot, Canada is a salad where every distinct people group is encouraged to embrace their uniqueness while still contributing to the whole. Do you see the multi-cultural crowd wearing hard hats behind an electioneering politician?
  5. Winter. Although on the west coast we can hardly claim to have winter, to brave the harsh winter elements is a truly Canadian experience. Other than licking a metal pole at minus 30—which I would not recommend—that feeling of your nostrils and eyelids freezing together beats sunburn any day.
  6. Universal Health Care. Invented by Tommy Douglas, a Baptist pastor turned socialist politician—which could only happen in Canada. He was voted the “Greatest Canadian” in a poll a few years ago. We complain about wait times but the fact that all sick people can go to a hospital for treatment without incurring massive debts is one of the best things about Canada.
  7. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation [CBC]. A state-owned radio and telecommunications network that is more critical of the government than any privately owned network.
  8. Hockey. World’s fastest game on ice and sometimes our national religion. The regular season has just begun. Now if only a Canadian team could win the Stanley Cup. Oops, that was a complaint!
  9. Good neighbours. Although we love to denounce our big brother to the south—mostly because of our inferiority complex—we enjoy the world’s longest undefended border. How y’all doin’ eh?
  10. Self-deprecation. It’s so endearing and it makes for some great comedy. “Sorry for bragging.”

What would you like to add to the list?