Nadia Elkharadly: I Leaf Canada

Happy Canada Day DBAWIS’ERs!  I’ve just returned from a lovely weekend at the cottage, where my restful time reading, cooking and relaxing was punctuated by the sound of fireworks.  Being there, by the lake, watching the red and white sparkly trails make their mark against the sky, made me realize that despite its flaws (mainly the occasionally horrible weather) that Canada is pretty awesome.  Therefore, due to my slowly recharging brain and timely surge of patriotism, I wanted to share with you a list of things I love about our home and native land, in no particular order.

1)  City? Nature?  Why not both?

Sitting at a patio in the heart of downtown Toronto, but feel like getting back to nature?  Pick a highway, and pick a direction.  With a car and enough gas in your tank, you can leave the bustling city and end up at a lake, in a forest, near a mountain, whatever aspect of natural beauty you’re looking for, and you’ve got it.  I’ve always been extremely fortunate that my parents have kept a place in the city and a cottage just near enough to it for relatively frequent accessibility.  Watching the sun set over Rice Lake, while a neighbour across the way sets off fireworks on Sunday night, nothing felt more Canadian than that.  The only thing we’re missing here in Canada is access to the desert.  Really you can’t win ‘em all.

2)  How we celebrate everything

In Canada, we love to celebrate.  Whether it’s the Canada day festivities in our nation’s capital, hosting the third largest Gay Pride Parade in the world right here in Toronto, or marking the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede, celebrations abound across the country.  Canadians celebrate what makes us all different, from sexual orientation to countries of origin, and what brings us together, like love of film, food, and culture.  I’m sure there are tons of other countries that throw better parties than we do, but I happen to like our parties, and I happen to love this country.  I’ll be checking out Stampede myself next weekend, stay tuned for a full report on the shenanigans that will surely ensue.

3)  The Music- Duh

If you guys haven’t figured out that I have a serious love of Canadian music, then…you need to get your reading comprehension levels checked.  In all seriousness, I’ve always found it incredible how much really great music is made by Canadians.  Living in Toronto we are particularly spoiled by our indie music scene, and the festivals that pass through the city, but there’s killer music being made all over the country.  From coast to coast, every province, and every major city (and many smaller towns) in this country has produced one of more noteworthy bands and/or singers.   The Stanfields from Nova Scotia, Les Breastfeeders from Quebec, Courage My Love from Ontario, The Weakerthans from Manitoba, Tupelo Honey from Alberta, and Yukon Blonde from British Columbia; this is just a cross section of bands from each province that come first in my mind, but there are many many more to be listed and named than my long weekend lazy brain can come up with.  Hundreds of bands from hundreds of places are making new music every day and share one thing in common:  they all call Canada home.

4)  The fact that I can be Canadian and still be Egyptian

Not to bash on our neighbours to the south (Canada’s pants as it were), but from what I’ve seen for the most part, down there you’re American and that’s that.  I’ve always felt comfortable and strong in my ability to say, when asked, that I’m Egyptian.  Yes, I’m born and raised in Canada so I am most definitely a Canadian, but being the first generation born of Egyptian immigrant parents, I’m still close enough to my Egyptian roots to identify with them.  I’m asked time and time again “where (I’m) from”, and the initial answer of “Toronto” never seems to satisify.  It’s clear that the majority of Canadians understand and identify with the “mosaic” vs. American “melting pot” model, so my secondary answer of “Egyptian” is never met with confusion, but usually with an interested and engaged reaction, and some follow up questions.  I couldn’t imagine living in a place where that doesn’t happen.  Embracing the melange of cultures and backgrounds that makes up this immigrant built nation is, the most natural thing in the world.  And that’s pretty awesome to me.

5)  It’s home

I’ve also been fairly fortunate in my short life to have been able to do some travelling and see a few different parts of the world.  The U.S., Europe, the middle east; I’ve been to some really cool places, had some great adventures, and made some great memories.  I have a blast, I love everything I see and do, but at the end of the trip, I’m always ready to get on that plane, train, or whatever means of transportation that brought me to my destination, and to turn around and come home.   In the end, no matter where I’m at, no matter where I go, Canada is, and likely always will be home.

Happy Canada day my lovely readers.  I hope you had a wonderful weekend celebrating the birth of our country.  Use that comment button and share what it is you love about Canada!

Until next time,



Nadia’s column appears every Tuesday

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Nadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

One Response to “Nadia Elkharadly: I Leaf Canada”

  1. Hey! Not all of us in Southern Canada (The States) are idiots! Some of us even have open minds. Well, a few. Maybe. Just don’t judge us by Fox News. I’ve always liked Canada. I’m even slowly working my way through the New Canadian Library series of books. And just remember, you’re doing most of your partying in The States. At least the pre-wedding parties.

    As for music, I get it. Let’s compare notes sometime. You and Jaimie keep throwing up (erm, maybe I mean “out”) Canadian artists I’ve not heard. Trade you a few, eh?

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