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Reason to love Canada No. 123: Reader Peter Taylor holds a book and a beer beside his campfire at Monck Provincial Park in British Columbia. (Peter Taylor)
Reason to love Canada No. 123: Reader Peter Taylor holds a book and a beer beside his campfire at Monck Provincial Park in British Columbia. (Peter Taylor)

147 reasons to love Canada Add to ...

When I see this passport, I invariably strike up a conversation with its holder and after exchanging our passport mug shots, complaining about the 401, laughing about politics, and our longing for good coffee, we always smile and talk about how fortunate we are to have one another.

– Diana Buttu, a former adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and a spokesperson for the Institute for Middle East Understanding

19. Canmore, Alta.

Larch trees, valleys and ridges, layered pinacles and, high above the Bow River, snow-capped peaks. I have lived in Canmore – tucked into the heart of the majestic Canadian Rockies – for the last five years. It was here that I came in 2009, disoriented and traumatized after spending 460 days as a hostage in Somalia. It was here that I began to recover, taking solace in the quiet, going for long walks in the brisk cold air, awed by the grandeur around me.

The small-town community embraced me as one of its own, bringing me hand-knit blankets and baskets of tea. As I regained my health I have continued travelling and working outside Canada. Yet I am never happier then when I am driving back from the Calgary airport, and the Three Sisters come into view, because I know I am home.

– journalist and bestselling author Amanda Lindhout

20. The Lucky Iron Fish

I love Canada for the creativity of each new generation – creativity that can make a difference in people’s lives. A wonderful example of this is the Lucky Iron Fish. Developed at the University of Guelph, it is a simple and inexpensive object used to reduce iron deficiency in such places as Cambodia.

People from so many nations have contributed to making Canada a great country. The Lucky Fish is one of the ways Canada is giving back to the world.

– David Mirvish, theatre producer and art collector

21. Saskatchewan

Full disclosure. When I first moved to Saskatchewan, I was a little upset with God. When you belong to a religion that has you pray five times a day, and send out a divine request to become “a famous international journalist,” you assume “needs to be in big international city” is implied. Wrong.

Toronto was the only city I’d ever known and loved. Driving down the Queen Elizabeth Way is still my idea of a roller-coaster. And in 1993, newly married, I told my freshly minted husband that there was no way I was moving to Regina, his home town. “Is that one or two provinces over?” I asked when we first started talking.

He was appalled, but I was a Toronto girl through and through. After the wedding, he drove me through downtown Regina, which lasted all of three minutes. Where was the traffic jam, the endless Starbucks, the mindless high-rises? It was flat and there were no roller-coaster highways, unless you drove to Qu’Appelle Valley really fast.

Sami had grown up in Regina, and it was the only city he’d ever known and loved, but he relented.

Then, a few days after we were married, the Ontario government passed a three-year moratorium on billing numbers for physicians who hadn’t trained for at least one year in the province. Sami had just graduated from the University of Saskatchewan. If I wanted to be with my husband and continue to have sex after waiting all those years (not hard when there weren’t any offers), I’d have to move with him back to his home.

I came to realize you have to be pushed out of Toronto to appreciate the rest of Canada. My crusading international journalism career was over, but instead I became a TV writer inspired by the move to the Prairies.

And it was here that I discovered young children do not believe in feminism; they prefer patriarchy. “Your job is to stay home, make food and look after me!” cried my seven-year-old son when he found out I had to be in Toronto for six months, returning home for brief visits on weekends, mostly for the above-mentioned perk.

So it was teachers, neighbours and friends in Saskatchewan who rallied around my harried husband and our four young children, providing them with the birthday parties, rides to school events and a Kleenex to cry into because “mommy had disappeared.” This was support that as a young woman, I had never considered vital. It takes a village to raise kids and I had found mine in Saskatchewan.

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