Hello readers! It’s been a while! No, I haven’t been slacking off (although that does sound appealing now that the cooler Autumn weather has arrived in BC). I have been working on a new online art business. Thereby, I just don’t have the time for regular blog writing, but I have dug up this old blog from my Athabasca University days for your perusal. And with the crimson and golden maple leaves flying off the trees, it seems apt.
While many of us are still unsure exactly what it means to be Canadian, we do seem to share common so-called ‘Canadian’ activities, such as visiting Tim Horton’s for our caffeine and Timbits fix. Beyond that, there are countless more cultural activities that celebrate all things Canadian, and this can only assist you in becoming a more cultured student, and well-rounded human being.
- Support Canadian artists and download their latest music offerings. Remember Stompin’ Tom Connors? “Oh, the good old hockey game…” Good Canadian stuff.
- What could be more Canadian for an outdoors person than ice fishing? Consult an outdoors professional first for ice safety precautions, gear up, bring a friend, and ice fish safe.
- Try something different on your next beer run, like a Canadian craft beer or cider. Gather your friends around for a tasting. Add locally-sourced food pairings. Made in Canada—as sweet as maple syrup!
- Grab a buddy and go canoeing or kayaking in a nearby lake or river. Wear your personal floatation device and explore nature.
- Instead of traveling out of country, plan your next trip cross country and see what the other side of Canada has to offer. Absorb local dialects, food, arts, and of course, culture. Halifax and PEI are on my list.
- Bake a batch of invented-in-Canada butter tarts or Nanaimo bars.
- Proudly wear your flannel and plaid year-round, like a true Canadian.
- You do not have to be religious to appreciate the beauty of a well-constructed church. Visit the Notre Dame Basilica if you ever go to Quebec. I’ve had the pleasure of touring through and it is truly a breathtaking feat of architectural wonderment. Visit old churches in your own town. Take your camera for a photographic contemplation.
- Museums aren’t just worthwhile in major cities; your local museum is rich with local history and cool objects on display that may leave you scratching your head in wonder at how far technology has come.
- Never miss a chance to tour the Parliament buildings in Ottawa and Victoria and see where all the big decisions are made. Consider becoming a part of them and fix what’s broken in our Canadian political system.
- Art galleries are inspiring spaces to while away an afternoon. As Sir John Lubbock writes in The Pleasures of Life, “Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.”
- Exploring a regional park in Canada can make anyone appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds us every day.
- Although Granville Island Public Market in Vancouver, BC, is a must-stop for anyone seeking juicy Canadian culture, your own small town market may also provide rich local colour and delicious produce that wasn’t shipped from another country.
- At the risk of being cliché, I cannot omit eating a giant lump of Canadian Poutine for lunch. And I do mean lunch because this gives you time to go for a long jog later to burn off the fat.
- If, like me, you relate to the song lyrics “you said you didn’t give a f*ck about hockey” (Fireworks by The Tragically Hip), let your defenses down and go to a hockey game. I have to admit, I get caught up in the yelling and music. Now, where did the puck go?
- Ask a friend for an invitation to a sweat lodge or Hispanic Fiesta. Taste someone else’s melded flavour of Canadian culture.
- Join in celebrating a Chinese New Year, a Korean Cultural Heritage Festival, a Potlatch ceremony, or any other type of cultural celebration and find out more about how your friends and fellow students integrate their culture with their Canadian heritage.
- Check out a local craft fair and see what talented artists are creating in your own backyard. Purchase your Christmas gifts from Canadian crafters this year.
- Future green-thumbs will delight in a visit to local gardens to discover what grows native to their province’s climate.
- Be a friendly Canadian and get to know your local ethnic restaurateurs. Ask about your favourite dishes and why they’ve been included on the Canadian menu. You may hear a gem of a story that enriches your dining experience and makes you a new friend in the process.
“Arts and culture make considerable and necessary contributions to the well-being of communities. Arts and culture are powerful tools with which to engage communities in various levels of change. They are a means to public dialogue, contribute to the development of a community’s creative learning, create healthy communities capable of action, provide a powerful tool for community mobilization and activism, and help build community capacity and leadership.” Creative City Network of Canada. ¹
Living in Canada has so much to offer when we mine the gold of talented artists, volunteers, immigrants, and rich history. Honour yourself and fellow Canadians by supporting the arts and culture in our midst.
And do stay tuned for new artworks for sale at some point in the not too distant future….
Tara Panrucker, Copyright 2021
All rights reserved.