A Love Letter to Canada

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Forum topic by GMman posted 07-01-2010 09:19 PM 1384 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3902 posts in 3693 days

07-01-2010 09:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: resource

By Robin Esrock

Robin Esrock shares all of the reasons he is madly in love with Canada. We’d love to hear yours too.
My first draft for this love letter began: “Shall I compare thee to a hot summer day? Fireworks erupt and the BBQ steams a sweet sticky scent into the air, both driving my neighbour’s dogs insane.” It went on to praise the 10 provinces and 3 territories, the virtues and industriousness of our people (IMAX, Insulin, Basketball), the extraordinary natural beauty, coast to coast. I had a few lines about our money, our artists, our national temperament, our national sport (watching our teams crash out of the Stanley Cup). Said the letter: “We mine over 60 minerals inside the world’s 9th largest economy, but have a healthy respect for nature and enjoy the outdoors. Unless it’s freezing the carrot off a snowman, in which case, we are known to enjoy underground heated shopping malls.”

But I knew something was missing, and if you’ll indulge me a few moments more, I’d like to share some vignettes.

A 23 year-old Brazilian girl is having a BBQ. She works two jobs, one as a nanny for a family in the suburbs, and they are throwing a celebration because she has just received her permanent residency status. From a poor background, offering little opportunity for education or much else, she has worked her way into Canada at great personal sacrifice, and promises to accomplish much. There is a speech, and she tears up, and in her face I see a tough past and promising future. This is Canada.

Auschwitz, Poland, 1942. Condemned prisoners arrive by cattle car carrying the few belongings they haven’t sold for their survival. Immediately, their bags and battered suitcases are confiscated. Family heirlooms, wedding rings, and anything of value stripped away, replaced with a striped uniform and numbered tattoo. The goods are transported to a large warehouse on site, which fills up so quickly another is needed. To the prisoners, these warehouses represent a wealth of material treasure, cherished memories, and most importantly, hope. They give the warehouses a nickname. They call them Canada.

In May 2004, I was sworn in as a Canadian citizen. The day before, a car had run me down at a Vancouver intersection, breaking my knee and setting me on the path to travel journalism. I popped a small pill of morphine before I settled in the front row of the courthouse, my leg heavily strapped up. Missing the ceremony would delay the process, and after five years I had waited enough. My older brother immigrated to Vancouver without once having stepped foot in Canada. I followed him 18 months later in the same manner. What made me leave everything I know behind on the other side of the world (South Africa is literally the opposite side of the globe) to start fresh? Very simply, the answer is Canada.

For all the negative news you might read in the newspapers, for all the economic challenges we face, the rising crime, reports of corruption, environmental disaster, it pays to put things in perspective. I moved here, along with so many others, because Canada offers a better life. By my reasoning and research, the best life I could hope to find. I didn’t need UN reports and various research indexes to tell me that the quality of life in Canada is amongst the best in the world. It would take me a year before I could find a good job. Longer still to reestablish the kind of friendships I had lost. Through it all, I felt safe, I felt welcomed, and I felt that anything is possible because the opportunity exists. Ten years later I have a successful career, a TV show no less that pays me to travel the world; my dream job. This is Canada.

My first love letter lightheartedly identified modern icons of Canada, from yoga-stretching hippies on the West Coast to foot-thumping lobster chompers in the Maritimes. We have wolves and cougars and bears and moose, but our national animal is the beaver: industrious, capable, a bucktooth smile for teamwork. We embrace the outdoors, the big prairie sky, the Albertan Rockies, the Quebecois’ providing tenacious unity in diversity. Sports, science, comedians, writers – for a relatively small nation, we have had a relatively large impact on the world, even if sometimes we feel they don’t exactly notice.

My second love letter is a lot more personal. I love that I can drive on a highway for days, meeting friendly people along the way, chewing on eye candy throughout. I love that it’s safe, that politicians are called to task, that our much criticized medical system helps me every time I’m sick. I love conversations with immigrant taxi drivers and nurses and dock workers and computer scientists who work hard and have made great sacrifices to be here. I love drinking tap water. I love the efficiency of our transport system, the police, the phones, the Internet. I love that our Canadian teams are always the underdog. I love our beer and wine and fresh seafood and healthy beef. You can criticize everything I love, and sure there’s room for improvement, but compared to just about any other country on the planet, things could not get any better. And that, in the end, is Canada.

Happy Canada Day.

7 replies so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3299 days

#1 posted 07-01-2010 10:01 PM

enjoy your day of celebration..your country is truly one to be enjoyed and to be spoke of proudly..ive only been in several areas of Canada, but everyone of them was beautiful and i certainly enjoyed being there….

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2921 days

#2 posted 07-02-2010 01:11 AM

Very well written!

Makes me think I have not been as thankful as I could be to live in this great country!

Happy Canada Day all!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3160 days

#3 posted 07-02-2010 02:10 AM

Today I delivered twins by csection for a couple, the mother being from Ontario. She was pretty excited that they came, as planned, on Canada Day!!

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Bureaucrat's profile


18339 posts in 3647 days

#4 posted 07-02-2010 03:29 AM

Hope you enjoyed Canada Day!

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View TraumaJacques's profile


433 posts in 3496 days

#5 posted 07-02-2010 03:54 AM

Thanks Robin

My then 5 year old daughter was sad about the starving kids sometime portrayed on TV, she summed it up for me when she said: “Why don’t they move to Canada” Now don’t get me wrong I know there are people who are struggling in this very country, however in general it is a country of opportunities.

Happy Canada day… Eh?

-- All bleeding will eventually stop.

View NewPickeringWdWrkr's profile


338 posts in 3008 days

#6 posted 07-02-2010 05:01 AM

I couldn’t have said it better. I was born and raised in Canada, I’m proud to have put in time serving my country and given the chance, I’d not change a thing. Too many people take this land for granted.

Oh Canada!

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

View Jim Reeves's profile

Jim Reeves

208 posts in 3019 days

#7 posted 07-02-2010 01:30 PM

WOW, amazing writtings letters from the heart no other way to express your feelings.
Makes me proud to be a Canadian, yes much improvement needed but l think the last 20 years has shown were on the way.
I am the type of person who likes to help people, have had a nephew, my father, my uncle live with me and over the years a few friends who had no place to go think many canadians are like me in this way.

But l also want to express how much l love our american’s friends to the south, we are alike in many ways and different as well.
Happy canada day all my fellow Canadians.

-- jim

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