How do you wear your Oh Canada? Eh?

Growing up in Europe, whenever I told people I was Canadian the immediate response was, Oh American.

No, I’d insist. Canadian. We’re different.

But I could never really describe the difference very well. Back then, the gun culture prevalent in the states today didn’t seem as strong and the Canadian dollar was almost on par with the American. We wore similar styles of clothes, though it was often easy to pick out the American boys in Paris by their starched button-downed collars and crispy starched pinstripe shirts and their khaki pants. For those who hitch-hiked, bell-bottom blue jeans and flowers in your hair may have demonstrated you commitment to the era of free love, but no matter your nationality or style of dress, the Canadian flag was the one to wear on your backpack.

But what made me Canadian?

At that point in time, my only real connection to being Canadian was the fact I was born here. A first generation girl born to an Irish/English father and a EuroAsian mother from India.

My roots were not that deep.

But I was proud of my Canada, nonetheless.

I liked that we were considered peacekeepers. That we were not considered obnoxious to most Europeans, like our neighbours to the south.

I liked that being a holder of a British and a Canadian passport, I could travel to countries others couldn’t. And I liked the fact one Canadian dollar got me 5 Francs, 4 Deutsche-marks, and a whole whack of other currencies.

But that was then and this is now. In the intervening years, much has changed to devalue both the Canadian dollar and our reputation as peacekeepers in the world.

Canada in its current construct, turns 150 this July 1st.

Throughout this week, I’ll be exploring my take on my Canadian identity. I’m curious as to how you wear your Oh Canada?

I’d love it if you share yours in the comments below. What makes you Canadian. What make you sing, Oh Canada! Eh?

Namaste. And oh yeah. Vive Le Canada! Eh?

9 thoughts on “How do you wear your Oh Canada? Eh?

  1. I’m an accidental Canadian… In my late 30’s I met a man who captivated me. When we decided our long distance relationship was not enough, we decided to marry and reside in Canada, mostly out of necessity. The US had no intention of recognizing our commitment to live happily ever after, as we both are the proud possessor’s of male reproductive organs. It’s in no means to say that I didn’t love my country of birth… I was raised to be a diehard American. I am the guy that would get choked up every time the National Anthem was played.

    In August 2010 I moved to Canada (Calgary) and became a permanent resident. I was welcomed with wide open arms by my new family, and was ushered into a new career by people who barely knew me but believed in my potential. My new career has offered me so many opportunities to meet many more extraordinary people (Louise absolutely included!!). I’ve seen that social justice and equity are not just high minded thoughts to Canadians, but are truly possible. I’ve come to accept that we have many differences, but the ties that bind will always be stronger than those differences. I’ve even said “eh” non-ironically on occasion, and during the VIMY Ridge Memorial remembrance celebration this year, I was moved to tears with pride for my adopted home.

    It’s with great pride that on July 14, 2017, I will honoured to take the Oath of Citizenship for this great country. It will be the proudest day of my life to profess my loyalty to the country that has given me so much. A country that has allowed me to be who I am, and has given me the space and freedom to be a better version of that man.

    Oh, Canada! My home and CHOSEN land.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And I am so glad that you are joining our nation Ben! And excited for July 1 when you will take the oath! Yippee!!! Or rather, as you are in Calgary, Yahoo! 🙂 Welcome to Oh Canada! Your home and CHOSEN land. Love it (and you!)


  2. I am so grateful to have been born, and to live, in Canada. Many who immigrated to Canada (including my parents) feel we do not know how good we have it. My parents proudly aligned themselves with their Canadian citizenship. ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My mother was Canadian (Ontario) and my father American (New York state). She was born on one side of the St. Lawrence River. He on the other side of that great river. She became a naturalized American citizen when they married (she often lamented that she had to do that). Her large family adored my father and so on most weekends we’d get packed up in the big black Chevy, cross the river and the border and spend the weekend in Cornwall. I had two homes. One Canadian. One American. It was sweet although as I look back I was a little pushy about being an American. But I had lots of cousins and aunts and uncles to be happy with and keep me humble. However, the fairy tale ended when my father was killed in a freak accident at the Alcoa plant where he worked. My mother’s family wrapped us all in a cocoon of comfort and I think I spent most of my growing up weekends in that small Canadian city in my grandparents house on Gloucester Street. To this day I wish I had dual citizenship. I’m still trying to get that. The bottom line now is that I am no longer proud to be an American. I am disillusioned by the hatred and contempt showered on immigrants, LGBT, blacks, Mexicans, and women by the so called leaders of the US as well as millions of uneducated citizens. When I was a child I thought the US and Canada were so similar as to be twins. That was then. This is now. From my point of reference from my home in Los Angeles I see a Canada that has matured into a peace loving and civilized society accepting of everyone. On the contrary the US has regressed into a flag waving entitled teenager with a worship of guns, greed and self worship. A temper tantrum throwing brat with Fascist ideology that’s frightening to see and hear. Sorry to go on so long but I just want Canadians to know that every American I interact with looks with admiration to Canada and its citizens, wishing that we, in the United States, were on the same peace loving trajectory as you are. Bless you all. Keep us in your prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Elaine, your comments broke my heart and at the same time reminded me so deeply of my Canadian roots. I wish you were Canadian too so you could remind all of us, especially those who want to emulate parts of the American way — such as using guns to make a point and violence to get rid of differences — that the peaceful path is the most powerful way to create a better world. Bless you.


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