When I told my parents that I wanted to pursue an internship on Parliament Hill, they were surprised and confused. In our native country of Ukraine, which we left for good when I was nine years old, politics were reserved for the wealthy and privileged. A regular citizen had little hope of meeting a Member of Parliament and voicing their concerns, let alone working for one or otherwise getting involved in the political process.
Their hesitation made me doubt my intentions, but eight years of education about the Canadian civic process and the democratic freedoms that Canadians left me hopeful. I called my local Member of Parliament in Richmond Hill and asked if I could volunteer within my riding. Within days, I was invited to help out at an event. Weeks later, I was coming into the riding office regularly to help out. In March 2014, I received a call that changed my life: my application to the Conservative Party of Canada internship was accepted, and I was invited to move to Ottawa for the summer to begin working at the Parliament Hill office of my Member of Parliament.
Three years of extensive political involvement later, I still reflect every day on the incredible amount of gratitude I feel to be a Canadian. Access to political decisions, freedom of speech, tolerance and equality of opportunity are the essential Canadian values that allowed me to pursue my dream career in way I could never have in my birth country. It is for these freedoms that my parents have chosen Canada as our new home, and I look forward to working on protecting and preserving these Canadian values.
Best of all, I see that the lives of others around me reflect my own experience. My friends and colleagues of all backgrounds are free to follow their dreams and are judged on their merit rather than ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. My parents came to Canada so I could have a better future, and I have thanked them by building a better life than I ever could have back in Ukraine.
Continue to fight, create and innovate
by Julia Mastroianni
My pride in being Canadian has evolved with me over the years, from a very simple pride in the country I was born in affording me the privileges I have access to, to a more complex version where my pride was linked directly to the human rights advances our country has made, to where I am now.
Now, my pride is in the people who live here, the people who may struggle with their identity in relation to this country and have persevered through undeserved hardships and discrimination but still stand strong, continuing to fight and create and innovate and make this country exactly what it is.
Ultimately, Canada would be nothing, Canada would not be all the things I am proud of it for, if it weren’t for its people—sometimes reluctant people, sometimes people Canada didn’t want to be its people for a long time, but still, they remain.
When my grandfather immigrated here from Italy in 1954, he built a successful company from the ground up despite speaking very little English, despite doing labour out of the good of his own heart for people who never paid him back, despite knowing very little about the country he moved to except that he intended to build a life for him and his family there. When my grandmother immigrated with him, she worked at and eventually managed a clothing factory filled with people who all spoke different languages than her and learned English from nothing but tv and work.
These are the people that continue to make me proud to be Canadian. These are the people that, though Canada wasn’t always kind to them, are extraordinarily kind to Canada. If anything is true about the “multicultural mosaic,” it’s that there would be no picture of Canada if it weren’t for the contributions of the people who come here with hope or live here with hope despite the often harsh and unforgiving landscape they face.
In celebrating Canada150, I’m celebrating its people, especially the people for whom Canada was their land long before it had its name.
We received in abundance
by Anita Advani
I am an immigrant to Canada. I came to Canada with my family in 1968 when I was five years old. I feel completely at home in my adopted country and rarely think of myself as an immigrant even though technically I am. In 1974, I became a citizen. My parents chose Canada because they hoped for a better life here. It doesn’t feel like my family adopted Canada; more like Canada adopted us.
I still remember that frigid day in April when we disembarked from the plane. Coming from India and wearing only thin cloth coats, it definitely was a shock to the system! We struggled on one income during those early years. My dad didn’t earn very much money so we barely had any furniture (only our beds) for the first year. Still, my mom always made sure we had enough to eat even if it meant watering down the soup or adding more bread than beef to the hamburger patties.
My three siblings and I encountered some racism at school to be sure. There were fewer immigrants in the early 1970’s. As visible minorities we stood out. Fortunately, the racist comments ended for me by the time I reached adolescence. I suppose it was a sign that I had fully integrated into Canadian society.
Everyone knows there is no utopia. Nevertheless, Canada has far more positives than negatives and most closely approaches a “utopia” – if such a place were to exist.
With its natural beauty, multicultural society, religious/cultural freedoms, inclusive immigration policies and democratic system of government, there are few countries in the world that can rival us.
My favorite place in Canada is Algonquin Provincial Park. I spent many summers canoe camping in this magnificent location. I have fond memories of the pristine nature I witnessed firsthand.
It is difficult to choose only one place, as there are so many stunningly beautiful vistas in our great country. I feel very proud to call Canada my homeland! My family came here for a better life and we received in abundance.
Great country, energetic city, lovely family
by Steven Lu
As a first generation native born Canadian, no year like 2017 recalls me so many memories about my country, city and family.
From coast to coast, we are thrilled to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday. From the days of the Native Indians, Canada’s magnificent history has already begun. However, our story begins on July 1st 1867, the day Canada officially became a country. Year 2017 also marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a proud victory of World War I. Many historians feel that this was the birth of our nation and the first time that all units of the Canadian Army fought together. Along with my Air Cadet squadron, I joined Markham's 100th ceremony of this battle on April 9th.
Living in GTA, you probably agree with me that Toronto Maple Leaf is the most popular icon of our city. The 2016-2017 season marks the Club's centennial season. This year is also counting the city's 50 years drought of the Stanley Cup. My hockey passion is inherited from my dad who is a diehard fan of Maple Leafs. The Leafs experienced a fresh debut for the second centennial era, clinching their first playoff berth in four years and second since 2004, which also happens to be the year of my birth.
Back to my family, one milestone is that my dad went through his 50th birthday early this year. My dad, mom and elder brother immigrated to Canada in 2000, and then gave a birth to me four years later. In the past years, dad has devoted all his effort to support my family. After a period of tough time, dad made Canada as our home. My brother has attended to his ideal university and I am growing up year by year .The 2016-17 NHL season will mark the Toronto Maple Leafs Centennial Season presented by Molson Canadian and the team will celebrate the historic occasion with a year full of events that honours Leafs legends, commemorates key moments in club history and engages fans of all ages.The 2016-17 NHL season will mark the Toronto Maple Leafs Centennial Season presented by Molson Canadian and the team will celebrate the historic occasion with a year full of events that honours Leafs legends, commemorates key moments in club history and engages fans of all ages.The 2016-17 NHL season will mark the Toronto Maple Leafs Centennial Season presented by Molson Canadian and the team will celebrate the historic occasion with a year full of events that honours Leafs legends, commemorates key moments in club history and engages fans of all ages.We are all satisfied with the life in Canada.
Interesting year of 2017, right? Great country, energetic city and lovely family, above are my memories and may be the answers why I choose and love Canada.
by Sivakami Thilagrajah
In Grade 5 social studies classes in Sri Lanka, I learned and read about Canadian landmarks such as Niagara Falls and the Parliament. I did not know at that time that in 1990, I would immigrate to Canada.
Compared to Sri Lanka, Canada is safer. In many parts of Sri Lanka it was dangerous to go outside at night, whether to walk or drive.
Also compared to Sri Lanka, there is more opportunity. In Sri Lanka it is difficult for women to get well-paying jobs in sectors which are considered to be more oriented to men, such as engineering, law or medicine. As a woman, Canada provides opportunities in all of these sectors, and ensures women are not discriminated against if they want to get a good paying job.
In Canada, and especially Markham, multiculturalism allows us to experience different cultures and foods. When I moved to Markham, the diverse composure of the city allowed me to experience various cultures from across the world and exchange foods, traditions and cultures in a way which many parts of the world lack.
In Sri Lanka, it took hours to get to the nearest hospital, and when you got to the hospital you had to wait many hours, sometimes days to see a doctor. In Markham we are fortunate as we have one of the best hospitals in Ontario just a short drive away.
I am grateful that Canada does not have the same worries of natural disasters which places such as Sri Lanka has. These are just some of the reasons why I am grateful I made Canada home.
Thank you for accepting me
by Mariam J. Karim
You know you have that feeling of excitement when you have butterflies in you tummy no matter how old you are. This is the feeling I had when I boarded a plane for the first time knowing that I am going to CANADA!
I arrived to Toronto as a refugee in 2006 from the Middle East. I had lived in the Middle East since I was six months old and stayed as a Ugandan REFUGEE for over 3 decades.
As a refugee I had access to everything except it was limited. I could only travel within the country as I did not have a passport. I could have a driver’s license & health card however; they would expire every 6 months. I had no legal paperwork except for my birth certificate.
When things were getting difficult there, I decided to approach the United Nations Office and ask them what the solution is. How long I will be in a country where I cannot call home? I requested them to contact the Canadian Embassy as my sister was in living in Toronto. Sure enough, in a week’s time, I was called to the UN office that provided me with forms to migrate to Canada. 8 months later I got my visa and here I am!
I did struggle in the beginning looking for jobs; however the Canadian’s made me feel like home and helped me around.
Why Canada? Canada is one of the peaceful countries in the world. It’s a land of immigrants were it has unique culture and diversity which can be found throughout the country. We respect one another and also celebrate every festival together. A country which has freedom to do whatever a citizen wants as far as it is ethically correct.
Canada thank you for accepting me and showing me who you are! For making me believe that there is still goodness in this world as I had lost hope! Today, I am proud to call myself a Canadian!
Congratulations Canada on your 150 Birthday!
Great optimism for Canada
by Qwendoline Scheffers-Simoneau
It was December 1958, I had just had my 10th birthday on the boat coming over from Rotterdam Holland to Halifax Canada, leaving our old lives behind. This was our new country, new beginnings, new life, new home.
It was a rough start with temperatures 30 degrees colder than we were used to and piles of fluffy white snow covering the railroad tracks slowing down our travel time by days.
When we finally approached Toronto it was a city like no other I'd ever seen. Buildings so tall my Mom called them "skyscrapers"! The Royal York Hotel stuck out above all. A sight I'll never forget.
In 1967, Canada's 100th birthday, I was proudly crowned "Miss Beautify Toronto 1967"! The speech I made was how Toronto would benefit from parks and car-less streets like Rotterdam to make it a true people meeting place" — which "Toronto" means. My duties that year included opening parks, riding proudly in the Stanley Cup Parade and greeting
the Centennial Train.
Although I loved Toronto back then I long for more space and tranquility as the years fly by. After moving to Willowdale, Richmond Hill, Newmarket area and now Innisfil I am looking forward to going even further north to enjoy the Northern Lights in my twilight years. I'm looking forward with great optimism and awe of what lies ahead in the next 25 years for my children, grandchildren and future Canadian generations..
Happy 150th Birthday Canada!
Starting a new life
by Hayley Shen, Grade 7
“Why did your family choose Canada? How long have you been in Canada? What is the most challenging issue for you in Canada?” A lot of people have asked me those sort of questions.
My name is Hayley, I’m a girl in Grade 7, an immigrant, and have a four-member family. As an immigrant, we chose to move to Canada for sure because here we have the better conditions, which we need. A healthy environment, a good society, and safety are the features of Canada we were looking for.
Language is absolutely the hardest thing I had until now. To be honest, I don’t trust myself to be speaking English like the kids who were born here. In my opinion, learning a new language is actually awful.
I came here in June 2015. It’s the great time to come to Canada but also a challenge because I need to catch up on a lot of things from 5 years that the children in my grade had done already.
It’s the great choice to choose Canada even though it’s like starting a new life.
Deep roots in Canada
by Dustin Kenney
Why Canada? I decided to write this essay because I was born in Canada and as it turns out everyone else in my family was born here also.
This essay was easy to write because my father worked for the Canadian Coast Guard. At first Dad worked as a lighthouse keeper. The first light station where my father worked was a place called Gros Cap, near Sault Ste. Marie in the middle of Lake Huron.
I cannot think of a more Canadian home for me and my family. The front of the light station acted like a giant ice breaker and there was also a helicopter pad on the top. We didn’t have a driveway like other families. Instead our boat would be lifted up by heavy cables about two stories high so we could get into to the cabin. Other people up there would have front lawns and backyards; all we had around us was Canada’s most valuable resource, water!
Later in my life as a proud Canadian we lived in a beautiful small town called Coldwater, ON. Coldwater was a great place to grow up.
We enjoyed many Canadian pastimes especially watching Hockey Night in Canada. It really is Canada’s game. It sure brought my family closer together. The game was created here in Canada and as far as I am concerned it will stay that way.
Great men play hockey, especially the men on the Team Canada hockey team. I am reminded of 1978 when Paul Henderson got his own rebound and united our country in one great moment. I’m sure Paul was proud to be Canadian and score for his country.
Just as I am proud to be a small town, son of a coast guard, hockey loving Canadian. Canada is the land of the free and filled with hometowns like the one that I live in. It is really different than any other place where I have lived because it’s the best place.
by Lily McMorine
My parents immigrated to Canada in the late 1920s from Poland for a better life. Immigration was encouraged at the time. As a first generation immigrant I recall the horse and buggy days as well as the one room school. The trying ‘30s saw my parents lose their farm. Kind citizens soon helped us get back on track -- a Canadian trait!
As a toddler I developed a health problem that required a lengthy hospital stay. The result was a strict diet that continues to this day. Only here in Canada would I have had the lengthy health care for my recovery. Living on the farm was an asset as we could grow/raise the necessities.
An early memorable family Christmas gift was the purchase of a radio and hearing the Christmas music.
Opportunities came to the Lake Huron area in the form of a school bus for children to attend high school. My parents encouraged their girls to attend. Some neighbour girls could not. The principal had a saying, “You can become anything you want to become.” What freedom and opportunity girls began to have back then compared to girls in other countries even today!
It was a joy to learn Canadian history even as Canada was becoming a nation.
I left the farm and went into the medical field. Here as elsewhere Canada added to the growing medical bank of knowledge. The advent of Medicare changed the health care system of Canada.
Having had the opportunity to have travelled across Canada, my heart now wonders back to the farm and the Lake Huron area. For the most part, crowds have not discovered this region yet and all that it offers.
Many years ago I started my education in one room school and have advanced to the computer age! Back then I traveled by horse and buggy. Now I’m looking forward to a self-driving car. The changes I’m experiencing as a proud Canadian!
A dream come true
by Seema S. Fernandes
As a recent Immigrant, we chose Canada to call it “our home.”
My husband and I have worked in the Middle East for 1 5years. Though we have family ties in Canada, my husband was always taken aback by the beauty of the country, its culture, the freedom, the education and professional work field and that, it was a family oriented place. It met all the criteria he had envisioned in a place for us to make it home. Without a shadow of doubt, Canada was the place he ever wanted to settle down with his family.
With 2 young kids, age 4 and 2, we made this move last April 2016. My family adapted to the weather, new environment, school, work. Everything was so systematic and organized, I can proudly say there is no turning back. We all love Canada.
I have to admit, its only God’s hand that has blessed us to make the decision to be in the right place at the right time. I am proud to share within 2-1/2months of landing in the country, my husband was selected for his first job in his field which he is working till date. My third child was born in Canada five months ago. And, by God’s grace we also were able to buy our own very own home in this competitive market a few months back. It’s a dream come true for us, as this was another affirmation that we had made the right decision by choosing to immigrate to Canada.
We want to help our next generation to have roots strong enough to be an asset for the country. I am blessed for all the things Canada has provided to my family, the health facility, children’s education, the children’s benefits and not to mention even the taxes that we pay to let our infrastructure take care of what we expect in the quality of life.
I am proud to be a recent immigrant and glad we made it on time to celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday! God Bless Canada!
A journey with imagination
by Yann Wang
If a place makes you to ignore or conceal desires, swallow and suppress ideas, hide beliefs, stand in the shadow of who, if a city reminds you often of paying attention to unfair child education, worrying about food safety daily and smog fog in the next time, then the desire to leave is constant, but why Canada? Because, on any person who desires this kind of leaving, Canada will bestow the gift of lucky charm with multichoice, my family among the others is only one of winners for this kind of choices in 2014.
And the person like us, with some kind of dusting background first landing the soil of Canada, we always like to say that this is the land of blue sky with fresh air which in some sense could been identified as parades on the earth according to the sayings of Mr. Duplessis who claimed Le ciel est bleu; l'enfer est rouge, of which is making me certainly a little bit confused unless I can find further explanation through personal exploration in the field of theology later on.
So this longest journey, we have made so far, is just beginning, it is not from the physical experience of having made it that we know how very great the distance is, but social and cultural from very beginning, after our landing in 2014 as new immigrants.
Just like the winter is always waiting time in Canada, for the spring flowers blossom, or the girl name of hurricane.
We also would wish, not only us, but to all others, to become a fully acculturate citizens of a country soon or later, not as foreign to my some new friends as China.
Canada was his destiny
by Domenic Brigante
My story begins in Puglia, one of the most fertile and picturesque agricultural regions in southern Italy. Father, a passionate “motorcycle” Evangelist, preferred roaming from town to town preaching the Gospels. He hated farming. One winter, handsome young Antonio meets beautiful Genoveffa and it is love at first sight. They soon marry. I was barely five months old when my life was to forever change. With our meager possessions in tow, my parents and I set sail from the port of Genoa for Canada. It was the summer of 1956.
The long journey by ship and train led from Italy to Toronto’s Union Station and finally, to a stifling third-floor apartment, near Kensington Market. Father’s command of the English language soon landed him a job as a stock clerk. However, he was not happy. The solution to father’s discontent was as Canadian as maple syrup. It was called “self-employment.” Thanks to his passion for electronics, Anthony’s Recording Studio was born. Father was free to work from home, in a second-floor rental on Montrose Avenue, near College Street.
Within three years, the Brigante family was able to purchase a semi-detached dwelling on Roxton Road. In 1962, an enormous Buick provided mobility to enjoy week-end trips to Niagara Falls and special visits to Algonquin Park, the New York World’s Fair and Expo 67. Father’s early agrarian life was rapidly becoming a faint memory.
College Street was the life-blood of the Italian community. However, prosperity created the necessity to stroll off the beaten path. This occurred in 1963 when my parents bought a storefront business on Bloor Street, near Christie Pits. “Anthony” was becoming a true Canadian entrepreneur! In time, the four Brigante siblings each acquired a university education. I even entered law school and became a lawyer.
Recently, when father took ill, I asked him if he ever regretted leaving Italy. His answer was a resounding “no”. The young immigrant had left his beloved birthplace determined to become master of his own destiny. To this day, I have never forgotten my late father’s unwavering tenacity to make Canada our home.
Proud to be Canadian
by Surjit Singh Flora
Cold weather and hockey may be internationally recognized symbols of Canada, but beyond its climate and recreational activities, this great nation has a lot to offer to newcomers.
I chose to immigrate to Canada because of the wonderful and helpful Canadians I had met along my life’s journey. When I first arrived from Indiain 1989 with my family, everyone was extremely nice and kind, and tolerant of my language difficulties, helping me learn to speak and read English very quickly.
Canada is successful as a nation because it has always been a country founded and built by people who came here by choice, who immigrated for a chance at a new life, and who have worked hard, generation after generation, to build a tolerant society. Unlike many other places, here in Canada everyone is free to dress as they wish, speak English or the language of their birth or ancestry, worship and live in peace.
Canada is a nation where the culture of peace has the deepest roots. People here can freely express their ideas, participate in politics and depend on a fair judicial system to protect their rights. The country’s multicultural policies also help everyone to find their place in society.
Ours is one of greatest countries in the world, with free health care, accessible schooling for kids with physical handicaps or intellectual disabilities, and many helpful non-profit organizations such as the Friendship Circle, which helps people develop a social life, without having to resort to cyberspace. And, yes, we love the game of hockey and our four distinct seasons. Add into the mix the natural tendency of Canadians towards peace and love—and you can see that we have it all here, in abundance.
I find it fascinating to live in a multicultural environment such as the Greater Toronto Area because, as a journalist, I have the opportunity to meet people with very different backgrounds and learn about their cultures. I believe that Canada as a whole draws strength from its multicultural spirit.
The people of Canada have worked hard to build a country that opens its doors to include all, regardless of race, religion or community, and as such, is a country that respects and gives equality to all.
While violence is prevalent in many parts of the world, and takes many forms, Canada has built a culture of peace by adopting and developing values, ways of thinking and attitudes that are in keeping with equality, tolerance, sharing, generosity and respect.
Canada is my home now, and I have a lot of fondness and love for such a fantastic country. It has given me hundreds of special moments and the opportunity to forge incredible friendships and continually make new acquaintances.
I would say that Canadians get along with everyone, unless someone tries to step on us or our friends, in which case, look out, because we will stand up for one another. Overall though, Canadians are easygoing, and blessed with a vast amount of land and lots of clean water for drinking, swimming and fishing. Our forests are rich with timber and scenic beauty, and our farms are fruitful with good harvests. We do indeed have to face the cold and snow in winter, but that is bearable for most and enjoyable for many.
I’m proud to say I am a Canadian, proud also that my children will be able to say the same. There is no other country in the world with the freedom and choices our Canada has to offer.
My home sweet home
by Jan Latimer
Back in the spring of 1954 I was nine and my life was just about perfect. Then one day my father announced that he had booked passage on a Cunard ship called The Samaria bound for Canada. I was not happy at the thought of leaving my friends and school, but most of all my Nana and Grandpa whom I loved very much.
Plans were made quickly, the house was sold, our trunks were packed and we boarded a train to Southampton. I will have to admit I was excited about the trip. The ship was huge, I’d never seen one so big.
The voyage was rocky, my mother and younger sister were sick. My dad and I explored the ship; there was a playroom for kids and a room where adults could bet on horse racing. There were miles of decks to run around on and many stairs to climb up and down.
Then the sea calmed down and we entered to St. Lawrence River. I remember looking at the shore and seeing little buildings there. I thought they were the houses and commented that they were smaller than our house in England. A man then told me that they were ice fishing huts. What in the world was ice fishing?
Our ship docked at Quebec City and we were taken to a large warehouse where we were processed to enter Canada. Then we boarded another train to take us to Toronto. We left Union Station and went to a boarding house on Avenue Road. I was not happy to be here. I wanted to go home.
The following spring my dad had a car and took us to Wasaga Beach. He walked me down to the shore and told me to start swimming, that my beloved England was that way. Little did I know that it was Georgian Bay and not the ocean!
Since that time I have come to love Canada. I made new friends, loved my school. My family prospered in this new country and we proudly became Canadian citizens. I met and married the man I love and we raised three great kids, one that was born in Canada’s Centennial year! Wasaga Beach is still my favorite place and my favorite memory and I’m so glad I didn’t start swimming!
The True North, Friendly & Free: What makes us proud to be CanadianDecember 31, 2016
By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto
In our final survey of the year, and as the country prepares to celebrate its 150th birthday, we decided to explore what makes Canadians proud of their country.
To do this, we came up with a wide-ranging list of 78 different items, realizing that we could have had an almost infinite list of ideas to probe for.
So, with the caveat that this is by no means the definitive list of items that could stir passion for Canada, this initial release will focus on the top 20 and bottom 10 from our list of 78. We’ll release more of the results over the next couple of days, and the entire list at the end of that process.
Here’s what we found:
• All but 3 of the 78 items made a majority of Canadians feel at least some pride. Those that did not meet this threshold were Conrad Black, Justin Bieber, and Lululemon.
• At the very top of the list, and a source of a great deal of pride for 59% (17.1 million adults) is our “freedom to live our lives as we see fit”. Fully 98% said this aspect of Canada made them at least some pride.
• Second was Terry Fox, an individual whose spirit and commitment captured the nation, and who passed away 35 years ago. Every year, thousands of Canadians participate in a run to honour his effort and to raise money for cancer research. Fox makes 50% or 14.7 million adults feel really proud.
• Third was “open-mindedness towards others”, and fourth was “politeness”, two characteristics at the heart of what it means to be Canadian for a great many people.
• In fifth, and first among several places tested in this survey, was the Rocky Mountains.
• Sixth went to maple syrup, tops among several foods included in the survey.
• Seventh was “enjoyment of the outdoors” a recognition of the passion Canadians feel for nature and for experiencing it first-hand.
• Eighth was Canada’s “reputation around the world”. While Canadians embrace humility, it matters to us that the world sees us in a positive light.
• Ninth is multiculturalism – reinforcing that diversity in Canada is not seen as a source of tension but rather of strength or advantage.
• Rounding out the top ten is our “sense of caring for the world around us”, reinforcing that Canadians take seriously our responsibility to the world we live in and to the people who face challenges greater than ours.
• Eleventh is our “steadiness and consistency”.
• Twelfth is “how we provide health care”.
• Canadian food makes it to 13th on the list.
• Wayne Gretzky is 14th and the top of several hockey players tested.
• Celine Dion is 15th and the top entertainer on our list.
• David Suzuki is 16th.
• Canadian wheat is 17th and the second highest food product after maple syrup.
• Our cities made it to 18th on the list. No doubt many people feel proud of the fact that several Canadian cities regularly make global lists of great places to live.
• 19th is Pittsburgh Penguin hockey star and Cole Harbour, NS native Sidney Crosby.
• Leonard Cohen, who passed away earlier this year, rounds out the top 20.
Those that just barely missed making the top 20 include Gordie Howe, Alberta beef, and Queen Elizabeth II.
The bottom 10 in our list (which does not necessarily imply unpopularity but rather in some cases less familiarity or a meaningful, but smaller contribution to national pride, were: the Roots brand (18 million feel some pride) Ryan Reynolds, Drake (15 million feel some pride), Air Canada, Rachel McAdams, soccer player Christine Sinclair, the Toronto FC, Lululemon, Conrad Black and Justin Bieber.
For some of these, it’s especially important to note that there may be important regional or generational differences of opinion. In the case of Drake, for example, 14% of those aged 18 to 35 felt really proud of him compared with only 4% of those over 35.
Naturally, not everyone will agree about what contributes to their pride in the country or in being Canadian. Because of our desire to test a wide range of items, we had to split our sample and so our ability to examine subgroup differences is a bit limited.
Nevertheless, there are some important generational differences that bear noting in these results.
Compared to older Canadians, those under 45 were MORE likely to say they derive a great deal of pride from:
• Multiculturalism (23 points higher)
• Open-mindedness (23 points higher)
• How we provide health care (16 points higher)
• Our winters (14 points higher)
• Our politeness (7 points higher)
• Sidney Crosby (7 points higher)
Those under 45 were LESS likely to say they derive a great deal of pride from:
• the Rocky Mountains (19 points lower)
• Maple Syrup (18 points lower)
• Leonard Cohen (14 points lower)
• Wayne Gretzky (10 points lower)
• Terry Fox (11 points lower)
• Canadian wheat (12 points lower)
Differences by generation were small or non-existent on the following items:
• Our freedom to live our lives as we see fit
• Our sense of caring for the world around us
• Steadiness and consistency
• Our cities
• David Suzuki
• Celine Dion
• Justin Bieber
• Conrad Black
According to Bruce Anderson: this first pass at a what stirs our pride shows how important we consider our values to be. We define these as freedom to live our lives as we see fit, a polite, open-minded attitude towards other people, a commitment to helping others, including making sure everyone has health care, and our steadiness over time.
Our sense of space and nature is strongly linked to our pride. So too, is hockey, and in particular the two most famous players in the last 3 decades.
The place that Terry Fox holds is one of the most remarkable findings, in my view. His struggle with cancer is something so many can relate to, and his dogged effort to bring visibility and raise money for cancer research by launching a run along Canada’s national highway touch many different chords that illustrate what Canadians admire about the country and aspire to emulate.
The current debate about screening for Canadian values is topical for several reasons. These results confirm that a sense of shared values truly is important to a great many people. At the top of the list of values we share is the freedom to live our lives as we see fit.
However, some powerful generational differences then come into play. Young people are clearly more enthusiastic about cultural diversity and open-mindedness to people who are different. In contrast, the concept of individual freedom can include some qualifications among a higher proportion of older, compared to younger, Canadians.
Our survey was conducted online with 1,848 Canadians aged 18 and over from December 12 to 14, 2016. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of over 500,000 Canadians.
The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 1,848 is +/- 2.3%, 19 times out of 20.
The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.
ABACUS DATA INC.
We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and value-added insight. Our team combines the experience of our Chairman Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading research executives for two decades, with the energy, creativity and research expertise of CEO David Coletto, Ph.D.