Canada Day is upon us yet again. This year our country will turn 149 years old. In our modern society, we seldom take the time to remember and celebrate Canada’s riveting history, opting to, instead, view the holiday as an excuse or even a right to get highly inebriated. This can cause anxiety among those who battle substance abuse and addiction issues as they struggle to celebrate our county’s birthday while also avoiding these types of situations.
For those who find themselves in this type of predicament, I’m here to remind you that, like those who came before you, you have what it takes to walk through this challenging world and thrive despite the greatest of obstacles that you will surely encounter. After all, we are all descendants of people who overcame extreme challenges to begin a new life here in Canada. To drive this point home, let’s briefly look back in the rearview and revisit how our country came to be.
A Distant Land
Hundreds of years ago, rulers commissioned expeditions to discover, map, and explore a new world. A distant and foreign land was encountered, it was quickly found to be rugged and unforgiving. It was no country for the weary or the faint of heart, but one for restless souls looking for new and uncharted territory to settle into and make their own. As The Tragically Hip’s frontman Gord Downey says so succinctly and simply when describing those who strode boldly into the frontier towards the Pacific, “Looking for a place to happen, making stops along the way”
Not for the Faint of Heart
So vast and untamed was it, that many did not return from these long and arduous journeys. Those who did return told tales of wild beasts, towering mountains covered in ice and snow, and expansive plains without end. For most, the thought of leaving everything behind and starting anew in this desolate place was an unthinkable option when compared to the comforts and familiarity of home. However, the most brave and fearless laid caution to the wind and packed up and hit the open ocean, ready for the greatest adventure of their lives.
Only the Strong Survive
Columbus had only just recently proved Gailileo’s theory right and discovered the New World. As harrowing stories of wild adventures trickled in, many were lured to the wild west under the auspice of both liberty and prosperity beyond their wildest dreams. Not all would survive the lengthy and taxing crossing of the high seas of the Atlantic, and those who did would be greeted by an even greater and more dangerous challenges. However, the bravest and strongest would learn hard lessons and adapt to thrive in their new surroundings.
Modern Day Challenges
In present day, many generation later, the same challenges do not exist. We do not have the same physical challenges of never ending journeys through snow and mud, or labouring in absolutely appalling working conditions. However, while they may look different, a great many challenges still face us today. So, this July 1st, whatever challenge you are facing, just remember that to call yourself a Canadian means that you will see a seemingly insurmountable challenge and rise to meet it again and again.