If you know me you know I love Canada. For a lot of reasons I have always respected and loved our neighbors to the north. Now here are seven paragraphs why I do.
1.The Canadian Border is close to where I'm from - The Border of Canada is a short half hour or so from the Burlington area. Montreal was about an hour from there if that. I mean a lot of people I met in Wisconsin thought Vermont was part of Canada, and quite frankly with it being so close and all the fun to be had there, I was glad to be associated with it. I traveled up there frequently for Expos games and later with friends for the Casino, Wrestling events, hockey games, 24-hour go-karting, and honestly Montreal has some of the best nightlife options in the world. Starting an "Ole" chant on Crescent street, seeing a cop get flashed in a TIm Hortons, and getting kicked in the head by a stripper, by accident, are among my favorite memories in Canada. Plus the drinking age in Canada is 18! So Americans 18-20 love a trip up north to be respected as adults.
2. My family emanates from French Speaking Quebec - Piche and Fontaine (My Mom's maiden name) are two super French surnames. In fact my grandmother grew up speaking French fluently and spoke it til her dying days. The accent over our "e," and all that comes with having Canadian heritage is important to me. Honestly I wish I was from Canada... there I said it.
3. Hockey Night in Canada - Growing up in Vermont, or southern Canada as mentioned before, we got CBC and CTV (Canada's biggest networks) and therefore not only did we access to Canada's coverage of everything, including the Olympics which was awesome, but we also had Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday. My family grew up on the Canadiens and every Saturday we could watch them there. This was well before NHL Face-off packages, or NESN or NBC Sports. Hockey was only really on during the playoffs and every Saturday night thanks to CBC. They always showed 2 games. Usually the first always featured the Habs or sometimes Toronto depending, and then a game out west like Calgary, Edmonton, or Vancouver. It was how I first connected with the game. Don Cherry in the Coaches Corner is still one of my favorite segments in all of sports. The Habs have been my squad since before I could walk. It was the one logo thrust upon me before I could choose and it stuck. I often wonder how a young me would react to the news of me becoming a Zamboni driver and eventually making ice for tons of NHL players over my vast and expansive career. When it comes to hockey I always root for the team Canada, or NHL team's from Canada before the American teams. With Ottawa being my one exception... screw Ottawa. It just means more to them and rightfully so. Even most of the US based teams in the NHL rely heavily on Canadian-born players, coaches, GMs, etc.
4. Canadian people are awesome - Ever met a douchey Canadian? Ok I'll admit there are quite a few rude French-speaking ones in Quebec, but the rest of Canada hates them too. The easy-going, friendly, laid-back stereotype is there for a reason. And quite frankly they have some of the best looking ladies in the world. (Sidebar if I had to rank ladies by country it would go 1. Poland 2. Russian 3. Canadian Sorry, not sorry USA) The Canadian person is like that friendly neighbor we all wish we had. Polite, keeps to themselves, and always willing to lend a hand. I guess Vermont people fit in those categories as well...
5. Canadian legends - To piggy-back on #4 Canada has given the world some solid fricken people. Celine Dion, John Candy, Jim Carrey, William Shatner (yeah Capt. Kirk!), Avril Lavigne, Neil Young, Pamela Anderson, Drake, Ryan Reynolds, Michael J. Fox, and Mike Myers just to name a few. Also have to mention Alexander Graham Bell - inventor of the telephone, crooner Michael Buble, creator and producer of Saturday Night Live Lorne Michaels, and even Basketball stud Steve Nash to show more of Canada's range.
6. Safety - Isn't it nice and comforting to know that we share a border with such a chill nation? Unlike our lawless neighbors to the south, that we will soon wall out, Canada is the almost polar opposite of Mexico and that's a good thing. Sure it doesn't have tropical vacation spots but it also doesn't have as much drug trafficking, kidnapping, murders, and poverty. Of all the countries we could border, Canada is the one you want. They aren't being pushy about who they are, or what they are doing. They simply chill, give their inhabitants affordable health care, eat poutine, and watch hockey. Now that's a country I want to grab a beer with. Make mine a Molson or Labatts.
7. Final notes - Canada has a bad-ass anthem, a great flag, and an identity all their own. Sure people often call them America's hat, but let's be honest... maybe America is Canada's pants? Basically I couldn't let Canada Day come and go without giving it a proper shout out. I love me some Canada and it's people. Here's hoping that when this USA thing plays out that Canada sends some Mounties down and claims America as a southern Province.