Today is July 1st, a day of immense importance to Canadians around the world. It is the day Canada celebrates the aftereffects of a tremendous hangover that resulted in the nation’s birth. It is Canada’s 148th Birthday, also known as Canada Day.
Admittedly, the majority of you reading this are likely not Canadian, I’m aware that 148 years may seem rather insignificant in the context of British history. However for Canadians everywhere it is a day of celebration. This nation, the second largest land mass in the world, is comparatively small with only 36 million people (when rounding up) but is fiercely multicultural in comparison to our southern melting pot cousins.
Yet, this small diverse country has a history of punching above its weight. In sports we excel in proper hockey (not this running on a field with a stick joke in England, but on ice with skates and fist fights). In business, Canadians citizens and pension funds own: High Speed 1, Selfridges, Canary Wharf, The National Lottery, Primark and (weirdly) Network Three and Superdrug. The cruise line Cunard was founded in Nova Scotia Canada. We even made Blackberries (remember those??). It was a Canadian who ran and privatized British Steel and British Leyland. Currently, Canadians run major institutions including Royal Mail and The Bank of England.
As inventors and innovators we have build one of the world’s longest connected railways, discovered insulin, and developed world wide system of time zones.
In cuisine we introduced the world to Poutine (delicious), Maple Syrup (you’re welcome) and Carling beer (yeah, sorry for that one).
The entertainment industry is littered with Canadians, such as Celine Dion, Seth Rogan and James Cameron. And we have publicly disowned Justin Bieber, Drake and Carly Rae Jepsen for obvious reasons.
Yes we have done much in 148 years. However, Canada’s founding nearly didn’t happen. In 1864 a meeting was held in Charlottown PEI, but was only meant to be with local colonies (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI in-case you were curious). However, it was crashed by a group from central Canada, led by a Scottish (attempting to unite this time…….) man by the name of John A Macdonald. His strategy was simplicity itself. He invited all the local leaders on a harbour boat cruise. Three years later Canada became a reality. Now 148 years later we can all look back fondly and reflect on the notion that sometimes good things result from a booze cruise.
Happy Canada Day.