Monday, December 30, 2013

Symbols of Canada - Part 1 - The Maple Leaf

I am Canadian.  Born.  Raised.  Proud of it.  I am proud of what being Canadian stands for, stereotypes and all.

For example, I love our accent (although mine is less strong than that of some other regions).  I love the “eh” and the “oot and aboot in my boat”.  I love that we are generally polite and that we apologize for everything, even if we aren’t wrong.  I love that our official mascot is a beaver and the maple is our tree.  I love hockey (even if I don’t play it anymore).  I love the cold, white winter.  I love snow.  I love 3 downs, wider, longer fields and the Saskatchewan Roughriders (hey, it is what it is).  I love the flat of the prairies, the mountains in the distance, and all of the unique landscapes that are found in and around every corner of our beautiful country.  I love toques, bunnyhugs (Sorry, another Saskatchewan reference used there), and all of the other things that are uniquely Canadian (except poutine, but that is due to lactose intolerance, no other reason).  There has never been a time when I wasn’t happy to proclaim that I was, in fact, from the glorious land of the North.

I recently had the chance to visit Ottawa, our nation’s capital.  I was actually born in Ottawa, but we moved back to Saskatchewan after a few months.  I’ve always wanted to visit, but had never had the chance.  Why would I want to visit?  Because Ottawa is full of symbols of Canada.  Over the next few posts, I'd like to share some of my thoughts on some of things that, to me, represent Canada and the essence of being Canadian (although I didn't see all of them in Ottawa).

Symbol # 1 - THE MAPLE LEAF

When I lived in Europe, I was often mistaken for an American (since I was often in the company of one or more, and my French accent was distinctly Anglophone).  People were sometimes a titch more abrupt as a result.  But when people learned I was Canadian, their attitude changed.  They recognized our international profile, character and contribution throughout history.  They opened up.  Why wouldn't they?  We rock!

There is a reason that travellers put a Canadian flag on their backpack. It is because, of all of the symbols of Canada, the maple leaf is the most commonly associated with Canada.  It resides proudly in the centre of our flag.
Flag flying proudly from the Peace Tower at the top of the Parliament Building
It sits on our (now defunct) penny.

Pretty penny
There are few places where maples (of one species or another) grow.  The distinctive sugar maple forms the hard working backbone of the syrup (and syrup-related) industry of much of Eastern Canada.  While it was late October when I visited Ottawa, there were still many leaves on the trees (at least, compared to back home in Western Canada).  It was great to see the different types of maples, offering a bright contrast to the blue/grey skies, the stonework of the buildings and the brick sidewalks.

Colourful maples next to the Fairmont Chateau Laurier hotel
  In this quaint little boulangerie, they featured a large display of Canadian maple leaf cookies, which a certain American President took a fancy to.  Hey, why not?  It's Canadian.  Who wouldn't want some of that.

The maple leaf sits right at the top of the list of recognizable symbols of Canada.  See it, think Canada and be proud!

No comments:

Post a Comment