Canada 150

My home and native land is celebrating a special birthday this week. July 1st marks 150 years since the confederation of Canada in 1867. Although I’m feeling sad not to be there for the event, I still remember the party we had 50 years ago.

The summer of 1967 marked a lot of milestones for me. Perhaps it was the first time I became aware that ours was a bilingual country. At school we all learned a special song to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday. There were English and French versions, and each had some of the other’s lyrics so we had to sing a bit in French.

The province of Ontario also did its own song for the centennial, ‘Give us a place to stand’. Now it seems they’ve done a remake for the 150th. A lot of people seem to be offended by that, but I’m just glad to be from a country that has groups with names like Ginger Ale and the Monowhales.

It was also the summer I turned ten. My grandmother took me to see Expo ’67 in Montreal. That was a big deal too, my first time in French-speaking Canada and the first trip without my parents (if memory serves, which it may not as it was all a very long time ago).

A lot has changed since then. In 1967 we sung about being 20 million strong. Now we’ve grown to over 35 million. Back then the concept of Canada as a multicultural mosaic vs. the melting pot of the USA was new; now it’s part of who we are. Back then we were much more aware of our French and British roots. We didn’t have much of a sense of our country as having its own identity, or wave either of our flags. Perhaps the centennial celebrations helped change all that.

What hasn’t changed? Well, we still have a leader called Trudeau. Who can rival Macron for being young and hot, as leaders go.

I am not going to pretend to know anything much about Canada’s current politics,  but I have been along for the ride during the last half century. And although the most recent years have been in France, Canada still feels very much like my homeland. Mon pays.

How can you tell? I’ve posted before about feeling pulled into two directions as a dual citizen. But it comes down to a few simple things:

I apologize a lot.

But never for the fact that beer is my favourite drink.

When the temperature drops, I feel happy.

When it freezes, I can’t wait to get my skates on.

When it snows, I still light the barbecue.

I believe that everyone has a right to healthcare.

And I can’t help but clap when the plane lands.

Happy Canada Day, eh?



  1. Holds a lot of appeal for me, Canada. Enjoy the reminiscing.

    • MELewis · June 29, 2017

      Thank you! The reminiscing is fun, but I think we’ll definitely need a return trip soon.

  2. francetaste · June 29, 2017

    Who doesn’t love Canada? So many great performers have come from there. Isn’t there a game Canadians play about who can name the most Canadian celebrities whom people think are American?
    I have one for you–YouTube star Lilly Singh. She is brilliant. Her show is “IISuperwomanII” –check out the episode “What Canadians Really Want to Say to Americans.”

    • MELewis · June 29, 2017

      Wow, thanks for sharing that! She is hilarious and sums up a lot of the misconceptions in that clip. 🙂 Some great Canadian celebs from my generation? Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, to name a few.

  3. davidprosser · June 29, 2017

    Happy Birthday Canada, you’ve got a lot to be proud of.especially welcoming so many people running from wars and oppression.
    And xxx Gigantic Hugs for you Mel xxx

    • MELewis · June 29, 2017

      Thank you, David. We do have some divisive voices but I think Canada’s reputation is overall well-deserved. Big polar bear hugs back at you! xo

  4. Osyth · June 29, 2017

    Joyous and triumphant 150th to Canada. From the outside looking in it seems pretty damn special to me … unrivalled landscapes for a start, a let’s face it extremely hot leader and seemingly a collective sense of fairness and inclusiveness. Not much to bitch about as an outsider …. in fact I’m not certain I can think of anything at all. Except that thing of saying ‘aboot’ instead of ‘about’ …. hmmm – sort yourselves out Canada 😂😂😂xx

    • MELewis · June 29, 2017

      A bit of a myth, that ‘aboot’ thing. To our American friends who like to stretch their vowels out wide (‘ab-owwwt’), we’re told it sounds like we’re speaking with a British accent. 😉 Thanks for singing my nation’s praises! xo

      • Osyth · June 29, 2017

        I remain convinced I have no accent at all … 😉 xo

  5. phildange · June 29, 2017

    Are you kidding ? You obviously weren’t born 50 years ago little girl ! Too bad for you, and for me for the summer 67, Summer of Flowers, is THE one I would have lived as a young adult in California, the only one when hope was still at its full level . I watched the integrality of the Monterey festival in a dirty cinema of NYC in 79 and oh man ! This is how I loved life .
    Coming back to Canada, the country where I would have stayed for sure, so much I loved its inhabitants, without this “maudit climat !”, here is a song by a Canadian who just felt like me about this problem . You probably have heard of him but I think you don’t know much of his songs . This version has written lyrics to help poor Anglos to follow .

    As Canada and Brazil are the two countries I felt utterly at home this song could be mine .

    • MELewis · June 29, 2017

      Thanks for sharing that, and let’s just pretend my excuse for not knowing the name of Robert Charlebois is that I really wasn’t born until much later. 😉 Seriously, my Canuck culture may be poor but as an excuse I can offer than the French and English parts really do coexist in relative isolation. But I do know his most famous songs, of course, especially Je reviendrai à Montréal….which I hope you will do one day, too Phil!

  6. weggieboy · June 29, 2017

    Canada, what America hopes it’s like when it grows up! LOL! Seriously, wishing you a happy Canada Day. Though it holds no special significance to anyone but me, July 1 also happens to be my two Persian kitty boys’ birthday, so Andy and Dougy (who turn six this year) share a birthday with a country I believe most people in the world think of in the most positive ways.

    • MELewis · June 29, 2017

      Ha, ha, great line! Happy birthday to your boys. Andy and Dougy are good mascots for Canada – foreign, full of fun and still young!

  7. Chez @ Chez Moi · June 29, 2017

    Happy Canada Day! I saw a video on Facebook yesterday about Canada Day and I loved it – Canada is a great country…and so is NZ, where I’m from – takes one to know one! ✌️🇨🇦

    • MELewis · June 29, 2017

      Wow, that’s high praise coming from a New Zealander! (Is it rude to call you guys kiwis?) NZ is way up on our bucket list. Maybe our paths with cross one day!

      • Chez @ Chez Moi · June 29, 2017

        No it’s not rude! Non-New Zealanders seem to use it much more than we do, but we don’t mind 🙂 I do find it funny though that a lot of people think that kiwi refers to the fruit, when it actually refers to a native bird! Maybe we could make a deal – I’ll show you some of NZ if you ever make it over and if I ever get to France or Canada…??

  8. acflory · June 29, 2017

    Congratulations! I’ve never been to Canada, but everything I’ve ever heard or read makes me think it’s a lot like Australia, a bit colder perhaps but compatible in character. Bon Anniversaire!

    • MELewis · June 29, 2017

      Merci! Yeah, we’ve got a bit of the no BS, renegade attitude that you Aussies own! 😉

      • acflory · June 29, 2017

        -giggles- I’m glad you said it. Now I can agree with you. :p

  9. Liz · June 29, 2017


    • MELewis · June 29, 2017

      Hope you guys enjoy the celebrations!

  10. Suzanne et Pierre · June 29, 2017

    Nice tribute to your homeland. We have lots of celebrations this year. Montreal is turning 375, some of the cities around Montreal are also turning between 350 and 375 so there are events all over the place. Canada is indeed a wonderful country. We sometimes complain that we are boring but I think I will take boring over anything else…it is easier to live with!

    P.S. I was 7 in 1967 and lived in region way north of Montreal so I didn’t get to go to Expo 67. Pierre was 10 and lived in Montreal; he went almost every night with a friend (without his parents). Not certain we would let a 10-year old on the metro and on the ground of such a large event on his own today…times have changed. (Suzanne)

    • MELewis · June 29, 2017

      Thanks, Suzanne! Sorry you missed Expo 67 but Pierre certainly led a free life for a 10-year-old. 😉 It just hasn’t worked out that a trip is in the cards for us this year – but I will surely make up for it next year and hopefully some of celebrations will carry over. 375 for Montreal is certainly worth a party, and the French side is known for being ‘bons vivants’ so I’m sure you’ll have plenty to celebrate. As for boring, I find myself increasingly drawn to that side of things. Growing older is a good excuse to sit back and relax — let the next generation suffer the hangovers!

  11. George Lewis · June 29, 2017

    As far as I remember it was your mother and I who took you to Expo .Multiculturism is still a bad ,racist land divisive policy.I will never agree with my tax dollars being used to support foreign religions and cultures that are basically wrong. A pretty PM or President does not a leader make. I think distance lends enchantment for your home country.Apart from that Canada ain’t too bad.

    • MELewis · June 29, 2017

      And I thought comments from George were disabled on this post! Ha, ha, Dad would not have expected any less from you. 🙂

  12. Ali · June 29, 2017

    I’m so very glad to be a Canadian. It’s not perfect, but I don’t think any country is. We seem to be be welcomed everywhere in the world….HAPPY BIRTHDAY…us


    • MELewis · June 30, 2017

      Nice to meet a fellow Canuck! You’re right — not perfect, but pretty damn close. Enjoy the festivities!

  13. Colin Bisset · June 29, 2017

    Canada was always a somewhat mythical country to me as a child, thanks to various relatives ‘out there’ – what boy wasn’t swept away by the idea of a mounted policeman (careful, Colin) and winters with proper snow… Later it was Expo and that wonderful Habitat. But it’s no myth that I’ve never met a Canadian I didn’t like.

    • Ali · June 30, 2017

      Thank you!!


    • MELewis · June 30, 2017

      On behalf of us all, thank you, Colin! At the risk of sounding like the mutual admiration society, I must say I feel the same way about Australians. BTW, I will never think of Mounties quite the same way again! 😀

  14. Dana · June 30, 2017

    Happy Canada Day, Mel! I’ve loved learning more about Canada through your eyes as well as over the past few years. It’s such a great country; you should be proud 🙂 xx

    • MELewis · June 30, 2017

      Thanks a bunch, Dana! I feel gifted to have dual citizenship to two such amazing countries – one an accident of birth, and the other a ‘chance’ life choice. Very much enjoy reading your perspective on life as a young teacher in France and an American expat. Bonne continuation!

      • Dana · July 1, 2017

        Ditto Mel, and merci beaucoup 🙂

  15. David · July 2, 2017

    Hi Mel,

    Dad is right about Expo 67. He, Mom, you, and I drove to Montreal for a week. Liz and Neil stayed home with Grandma Lewis as they were determined too young to go.

    However, Grandma Lewis did take you to Quebec the year before (I believe) to visit Aunt Mabel.

    Happy Canada Day nonetheless!!!


    • MELewis · July 3, 2017

      Thanks for being my memory bank, Dave!

  16. midihideaways · July 3, 2017

    Happy birthday, Canada!! 🙂

  17. Mél@nie · July 6, 2017

    touchant et émouvant hommage, MEL… ❤ long live your beautiful homeland, I used to dream of it when I was 10-12 and my dream did come true: been there several times!!! well, if I were 30, I'd choose to live in Canada – BC being my favourite province… 🙂

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