As the words to our national anthem remind us, in Canada we have much to be thankful and grateful about.
And when some of our leaders and would-be leaders try to divide and conquer by arguing otherwise, perhaps we’d all do well to remember how fortunate we are to call this country home.
Yes, things could always be better. There are problems desperately in need of fixing, crises that require resolution, wrongs that need to be made right.
Yes, the people in charge of leading our town, our province, our nation don’t always make the right – or best – decisions. And sometimes they play politics with issues, often because they’re too interested and vested in power and control.
But that’s why we have the option every now and then to mark a ballot and vote for a change in direction or leadership.
It is a privilege millions of people in many corners of the world can only dream about. And one that we, the voters, take for granted.
At this time 156 years ago, the Fathers of Confederation set about to establish this nation, physically and philosophically linking a disparate group of provinces into an enduring dominion that has flourished – and by many measurements today remains the envy of numerous nations worldwide.
Canada Day is our day, our chance to revel in being Canadian, to wear red and white, to celebrate our commonalities and our differences, our history and our future.
Here in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the first capital of Upper Canada long before there was a “Canada,” we take issues of heritage, history and preservation to heart.
Like many small towns across the country, NOTL plays host to many Canada Day celebrations – with everything cake to barbecues to fireworks – and we urge everyone to take the time to take in some of these slices of Canadiana.
Three years ago, in 2020, we were unable to celebrate July 1. Remember “bubbles” and social distancing?
In 2021, Canada Day here was largely a virtual celebration, with the major gatherings again shelved by the COVID pandemic.
Last year, we finally returned to some semblance of normal as society tried to put the pandemic in the rear-view mirror. Still, though, many were uncomfortable in crowds and chose not to participate.
Now, in 2023, COVID remains among us but as a society we have managed to cope with it and adapt. That is part of what being Canadian means. We change, we move along, we find ways to make life work.
So, with a full slate of Canada Day celebrations planned in NOTL, we encourage everyone to get out this Saturday (and the rest of the weekend for events that run past July 1) to take part in the revelry.
And when you’re enjoying the barbecues, the artistry, the history and pageantry, the massive Canada Day cake, the fireworks, the camaraderie, take a few moments to reflect on how, despite its flaws, we are fortunate to live in what is perhaps the greatest country in the world.
Happy #156, Canada.