Today marks Canada’s 149th birthday, and as Canadians, we have a lot to be grateful for. Here at The Duke of Ed, we want to take a moment to remember all of the great reasons we have to be proud Canadians on Canada Day.
1. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Championed by Prime Minster Pierre Elliot Trudeau, The Charter of Rights and Freedoms unites Canadians in a common goal for Human Rights. The Charter was signed into law by Queen Elizabeth II in 1982, and states that everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
Now, in 2016, we have a new Prime Minster Trudeau who is continuing in his father’s footsteps by being a world leader in championing human rights for all. Recently, he has spoken out on behalf of the LGBTQ community, specifically against the discrimination of transgender people, committing government legislation to protect trans rights. We are extremely lucky to live in a country where we can participate in The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award to better ourselves in an authentic and meaningful way.
All of those exciting Adventurous Journey’s you partake in would be impossible to enjoy without our natural habitat. In Canada, 30% of our landmass is made up of forest – keeping in mind that we are the 2nd largest country on the globe – that is a lot of nature that we often take for granted. Every day we wake up with clean air to breath, and fresh water to drink. In fact, Canada holds nearly 20% of the world’s fresh water! At The Duke of Ed we are committed to finding ways to empower youth to appreciate and protect this beautiful environment that we call home.
A few of the popular sports you play to complete your Physical Recreation were invented right here in the great white North. We all know that hockey was invented in Canada – it’s one of our National sports, and a long enjoyed Canadian past time. But did you know that Canadians were also responsible for the invention of basketball and lacrosse as well? Canadians are responsible for a multitude of other important inventions ranging from the scientific to the transportation sector. The first wheelchair accessible bus was invented by Walter Harris Callow in 1947, and insulin was invented by three Canadian scientists: Frederick Banting, Charles Best and James Collip in 1922. Even the board game Trivial Pursuit was invented by two Canadians, Chris Haney and Scott Abbott in 1979. At The Duke of Ed, there are plenty of opportunities to embrace your creative side by honing your skills to create something remarkable that will serve to enhance your community.
On Canada Day, it is important not to forget where we come from, and who we come from. Canada has a history of embracing many different cultures. In fact, in 1988, The Canadian Multiculturalism Act was passed with the aim to preserve and enhance multiculturalism in Canada. This ensures that the heritage of each individual is honoured and celebrated within our country. Most importantly, perhaps, is the recognition of our Indigenous culture, as this law puts particular emphasis on Aboriginal rights – rights that we are continually trying to improve on. There are plenty of ways you can get involved in your community by participating and volunteering in Canadian Festivals, and it’s easy to brush up on your Canadian history with these fun and short Heritage Minutes.
5. Kindness & Compassion
Showing compassion is about more than simple saying “sorry” every other sentence. It’s about recognizing the similarities within each other, and doing our part to create a community that is safe and accessible for everyone to live in. Recently, Canadians have come together to support those in need. From the millions of donations received for those affected by the fire in Fort McMurray, to the sponsors and warm welcomes extended to Syrian refuges, the compassion and generosity exuded by Canadians has been noticed throughout the world. In fact, the New York Times recently wrote a piece praising Canadians for the warm welcome they extend to Refugees. But we don’t do it for praise – we do it because it is the right thing to do.
Remember, on Canada Day, the best way to honour our Nations birthday is to do what Canadians do best – give back to create a brighter community.