Oh, Canada! My snowy, blustery Canada!

It is said that Canada is the only country that measures distance in the number of hours it takes to drive there. It’s true! From Ottawa, Toronto is 5 hours away, Sudbury is 6 hours away, Montreal is 2 hours away…and so on. Does this mean that in the winter, Toronto is further away? Because, I guarantee that on a day like today, it would take at least 7 or 8 hours to drive to Toronto.

Canadians like to complain about the weather. In the Canadian winter, there’s not much else to do, and can you blame us? Wind chill, blowing snow, freezing rain, ice pellets, flash freeze, snow, heavy at times….and sometimes, all in the same day! It’s like some kind of sick meteorological joke.

It’s usually around the end of January that I start to contemplate all of the other places I’d like to live…where there is no winter. And there are plenty of them! Turks and Caicos…Bermuda….California….Florida….heck, I’d take any place right about now where I don’t have to shovel, scrape, or slide around just to get out of my house in the morning.

I have to admit. I hate living in Canada in the winter. But for some reason I stick around. So why do I stay in Canada, if, for 4 months of the year I find it intolerable? I will tell you why.

It’s home. I don’t know what it would be like to live anywhere else. The only other country I’ve ever been to is the U.S. It is a great, fun, exciting, wonderful country to visit. Some of the best people I’ve ever met are American. Unfortunately, I can’t get over George Bush and no public healthcare plan, so I’m not sure I could live there long term.

Canada has a lot of heart. We brave the cold, blustery, ridiculous winters because we know that it means spring is just around the corner. We put up with our politicians breaking their promises, because we know that we have a lot of privileges that other countries don’t have. The fact that I can walk into a doctor’s office or hospital if I’m ill and not have to worry about getting dinged with thousands of dollars in medical bills gives me a peace of mind that warms my cold winter chills. We aren’t taxed to death because of it, and our doctors still make lots of money. We have control over our guns, and that means I can feel safer. Sure, bad things still happen in our country. But I’m not looking over my shoulder every minute of the day, that’s for sure.

I have traveled to every corner of Canada in my lifetime, and I’ve experienced such a wide variety of cultures and traditions, from dancing and feasting with the Haida on the West Coast to dancing and feasting with the Newfoundlanders down East. Two different cultures, but remarkably similar ways of life. Living off the land and the ocean, cherishing family and friends, working hard to make a good life, being grateful for our freedoms. These are some core values that we all share as Canadians, and it makes me proud to live here.

Sure, the weather is crappy. Really, really crappy. But now you know why I choose to make Canada my home, and why I probably always will. Well, except for that condo I’m going to buy in Turks and Caicos when I’m rich, where I’ll be able to spend my winters.

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