A happy belated Canada Day to you

By: Don Patterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jul 02, 2014 11:28 am

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Itís back to work on Wednesday after a day off for Canada Day.

It wasnít a full day off here at the Wheel. We were busy covering all the July 1 events around the foothills, putting the final touches on our election coverage and making sure the newspaper youíre holding in your hands made it to the press on time.

Afterwards, we were able to take some time to enjoy the day and consider what it means to be CanadianÖ at least those were my plans.

When I was younger, Canada Day was more about enjoying the day off, taking part in activities, watching fireworks and spending time with family and friends. As I get older, I think more about what it means to be Canadian and hopefully, some of you do too.

Itís something that can be easily taken for granted, particularly for those of us who were born here.

This makes me think about my grandparents and great-grandparents who left their homes overseas to start a new life in Canada.

One side of my family came to Canada from Scotland, England and Ireland in the 1800s looking for a new life. My great-grandfather arrived with the crews working to build the railway west across Canada, in what would eventually become Saskatchewan.

On the other side of my family, my grandparents and great- grandparents came from what was then the Russian Empire, fleeing war and revolution. They eventually arrived in the dry, southern regions of what was then a young province of Alberta to build farms and lives out of the dry prairie.

I know it wasnít easy for my grandparents and great-grandparents, but they took a chance on a new life, in a new country. They were looking for peace and an opportunity to build a life for themselves and their children.

I suspect the story is relatively similar for the new Canadians who took the oath of citizenship in Okotoks on Canada Day and everyone else who comes to this great country dreaming of the day they too can call themselves Canadian.

Iím lucky to be able to live in a diverse, peaceful, prosperous country that I know my great-grandparents helped to build with their own hard work. I have had the freedom and opportunities to chart out my own destiny and build a better life for myself, my family and my community. Thatís what being Canadian means for me.

It may be a little belated, but Iíll say it anyway Ė Happy Canada Day.


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