Canada Day Gives Us a Chance to Reflect on Our Blessings

A few years ago I had an article printed in the KW Record newspaper reflecting on our blessings as Canadians. In honour of Canada Day, I thought I would post that article again. It never hurts to remember and appreciate how fortunate we truly are…


Canada Day? What does it mean to you? Does it represent nothing more than a day off work, a chance to sleep in? Is it simply Canada Day celebrations and fireworks?

I have to admit that I was one of those people who viewed the Canada Day holiday as little more than a long weekend. On occasion, my family and I would participate in some of the local activities, but rarely did I give much thought to what Canada Day, and Canada itself, meant to me.

A new friendship has opened my eyes to the great things about this country that many of us are guilty of taking for granted. Over the past year, I have become friends with the parents of one of my son’s friends. About five years ago, the father came to Canada from Romania with the dream of bringing his family over to join him after getting established. A year later, his wife and two young sons joined him.

Both were highly educated University graduates with engineering degrees. They were successful, had good jobs, and a nice home.
And yet, they gave up what would be considered a decent lifestyle in Romania to start over in Canada, with the hopes of giving their children the chance for a better future. They have made many sacrifices including not being able to see most members of their families, taking jobs that are beneath their education levels, and retraining for different careers, all because they know that this country can offer their children opportunities they could never have had if they’d remained in Romania.

Recently, my husband and I spent an evening with our Romanian friends where they told us stories that most Canadians could not even begin to imagine. They told us of how, when they were in University, they had to study by candlelight because they were limited to two hours of hydro each day. Television was also limited to an hour or two a day.

In Canada, most families have a minimum of two vehicles, which are considered necessities; a vehicle in Romania is a luxury—a luxury that most cannot afford. While we complain of the price of gas, the car owners in Romania have had to deal with monthly gas rations, regardless of their ability to afford more. They would receive coupons that would allow a family less gas for the entire month than most of us use in an average week. They could not save these coupons, and they could not use them in a town other than their own. A family trip to the Black Sea could require storing gas purchases for an entire year, and taking the supply with them for the journey, ensuring they had enough gas to make the round trip. Stopping for gas along the way was not an option.

These were only a few of the incredible stories our friends shared with us. I believe that much of what they told us occurred back in the 1980s and that the situation today is not quite so severe, but it remains clear that there is no comparison between the two countries.

I couldn’t imagine having to telling my children they had to limit their combined TV, computer, and game time to two hours a day, much less have a limit of two hours of hydro for an entire day. And as much as I hate the price of gas, I know I can fill up when and where I want. I don’t have to give up driving for an extended length of time to save my gas so that my family can enjoy a
vacation together.

I have a whole new appreciation for the freedoms and opportunities of this country, and I hope that I never take any of it for granted again. On this Canada Day, I will be thinking of more than sleeping in and having a day off work. I will be thinking about how privileged I am to live in this great country and how proud I am to be Canadian.

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