People ask me all the time: “What’s Canada like?”
I can answer that it’s a lot like America but with different healthcare, and you press 2 for French instead of for Spanish. Or that it’s cold in the winter – sorry about that, eh? I can tell you that we celebrate Thanksgiving in October and we’ve got the Queen on our money. All of that is true. But it’s not the whole story, at least not for me.
Canada is my history. I grew up there and it will always be an important part of who I am and how I think. Canada is my memories.
Canada is a Tim Hortons coffee warming my hands through my gloves. It’s biting into a toasted and buttered Saint-Viateur bagel and getting sesame seeds stuck in my braces. It’s braving the Drummond ice sheets to get to my classes at the Stewart Biology buildings. It’s breakfast Chez Cora and a pint at Hurley’s. It’s “sorry” and it’s “câlisse.” It’s the green line and the orange line and the three note salute from the trains as they pull away. It’s potholes and orange cones and jerks speeding down Decarie in souped-up Civics. It’s Christmas lights on McGill College Avenue and the world’s greatest fireworks all summer long at LaRonde.
Canada is my genes and my soul. It’s Grandmaman and Matante Gigi trash-talking each other over dice games. It’s Momo’s big house with the lions out front. It’s my parents and siblings and aunts and great-aunts and cousins. It’s emphatic French cursing and hand-waving and hugging. It’s my opinions and my voice, grown from twenty-five of my most malleable years, living in the Great White North.
It’s my history. It’s my heart. It’s my home.
I miss you, Canada. Happy birthday.