We asked some well-known Canadians and you, our readers, to help us build our list of 147 reasons to love Canada. What follows is the full list of 147 reasons, but we've clipped our favourites and compiled them into a shorter, more mobile-friendly list of our top 32 reasons.
1. Our national anthem
We are genuine and authentic, honest and are leaders to the world on so many fronts. I believe heavily in the words to our anthem “with glowing hearts” and “True North strong and free.”
– Kaillie Humphries, the first woman to win gold in the bobsleigh at consecutive Olympics
2. We never say die
Canadians never give up on one another. When we were at 1-2 at the Olympics, people were still supporting us.
– gold-medal skip Brad Jacobs on the video sent to Sochi by a Grade 3 class in his home town, inspiration when the team needed it most
3. The maple leaf on travellers’ backpacks from all over
While in Ireland, I met two people with Canadian flags on their packs and asked them what part of Canada they were from. They said nowhere – they were Americans who had discovered that showing the Canadian flag earned them special treatment. It’s about respect. It’s a fulfilling sense of pride and a great sense of identity. As a Canadian, we just know we live in the best country.
– Heather Moyse, Olympic gold medalist in the bobsleigh who has also represented the country in rugby
4. We play to win
We’ve been known for a long time for being happy to compete. “Oh, we made it to the Olympics.” “Oh, we qualified for this tournament.” The one thing about the Vancouver Olympics I remember is an attitude shift, that we’re not just there to compete – we’re there to win. It just carried on in London and Sochi.
– Olympic soccer striker Christine Sinclair
5. The ‘Canadian swagger’
In my seven years as commissioner, the moment that was probably most fascinating to me was around the 100th Grey Cup in Toronto: We let fans carry the Cup the final five kilometres after a trek across the country. Five hundred people showed up at Varsity Stadium but, by the end, thousands had jumped in. That spontaneous act – in its patriotism, its sense of community, of belonging, of being proud of who we are – is something I call Canadian swagger. It’s confident but humble at the same time. I’m not sure if it’s possible but, if there’s any nation that can pull it off, it’s Canada.
– Mark Cohon, commissioner of the Canadian Football League
6. 5 per cent beer
Canada is pride, manners, hockey, wilderness – and 5 per cent beer!
– Canadian professional golfer Graham DeLaet
My favourite thing to do is to go for a boat ride and just go very slowly, with my family and my dog, at sunset. It’s so peaceful and tranquil. You see the undisturbed natural beauty. That’s something Canada has been extremely disciplined about – not to allow the over-commercialization of the most beautiful sites. We have a value system that protects the natural beauty of this country.
– Miles Nadal, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of marketing powerhouse MDC Partners
8. ‘We’re building a country together’
I was to address the student assembly at Gordon Bell High School in Winnipeg. As I walked into the gym, I suddenly realized that I was walking by a 10-person, all-female, aboriginal group of drummers – and they were terrific.
After I listened to them for a while, I turned to go toward the mic and, all of a sudden, there was this tremendous crash and at the other end of the gym there was about a 20-person African drumming group – and they started to play and they were equally wonderful to listen to.
Then I realized that the two bands were playing in sync and off each other, and it hit me so hard, I could hardly speak. What a wonderful, wonderful sound this was – and what a wonderful picture it was of Canada. When I got up to the mic to speak, I could hardly get it out, I was just so touched.