Today’s table centerpiece

Today is Canada’s 150th Birthday

At some point during every one of my Canadian parochial school years, we studied the history of the “birth of our nation”. However, the facts have grown a little fuzzy over the ensuing years, and today, on the 150th anniversary of the confederation of Canada, I took a walk through Wikipedia and refreshed my memory.

The name, “Canada” comes from the Iroquoi language and means settlement, village, or land. The French used it first in the 16th Century for a colony they established along the St. Lawrence River and the northern shores of f the Great Lakes.

In 1791, the French colony of Canada and other French colonies became British colonies, called Upper Canada and Lower Canada.

In 1841 these two were joined and became known as the British Province of Canada.

On July 1, 1867 the British North American provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Canada united and became the Dominion of Canada. We commonly call this “the birth of Canada” or “Confederation”. This event marked the beginning of more than a century of progress toward independence from the United Kingdom.

Confederation created Canada’s first four provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. The other provinces and territories entered Confederation later: Manitoba and the Northwest Territories in 1870, British Columbia in 1871, Prince Edward Island in 1873, Yukon in 1898, Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905, Newfoundland in 1949 (renamed Newfoundland and Labrador in 2001) and Nunavut in 1999.

I have lived away from Canada for 41 years. I have been happy in Mexico and I believe I adapted well to the language, customs and culture. But I suppose “we are who we are”. Childhood leaves an indelible mark, and my identity has remained Canadian.

I will now be living in Canada for six months each year. When I entered the country three weeks ago, I worried that my motivation would be questioned and for sure, I thought my bags would be thoroughly searched. None of that happened. When I told the Immigration officer I wanted to re-establish my residency, he smiled and said, “Welcome home!” He stepped out of his booth and walked me over to Customs. “This lady is a returning Canadian,” he told his colleague. “Oh that’s great,” she said, stamped my declaration, and I was on my way out through the sliding glass doors and into the waiting arms of my sister.

Today I will wear red and white, pin my maple leaf broach onto my lapel, and I’ll watch the fireworks at Rocky Point Park with my long-time friend Mary.

In Merida, my husband and children will get together with friends and have a barbeque to mark the occasion.  I am not with my family today, but my love of Canada is a part of them.

Canada is not the only great country in the world, but it is certainly one of them. I am proud to call myself a Canadian.