Lifestyle & Belief

It's Canada Day! Canadians living abroad remember their favo(u)rite traditions


Clockwise: Andrea Crossan in Boston. Derek Stoffel canoeing in Orford, Quebec, Joe Rothwell visiting Vancouver, BC. James Cowling at home in London. Dara McLeod visiting her family's cottage on Lake Shebandowan, ON.

I don't want to sound ungrateful. I love living in the United States. Boston has been my home for more than a decade.

Player utilities

Listen to the Story.

But that doesn't mean I don't miss my home and native land — especially today.

July 1 is Canada Day. We call it Canada's birthday.

It actually marks the joining of the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada into a federation of four provinces on July 1, 1867.

All across Canada there are festivals and parades — and where I'm from we even have lumberjack competitions

And in the evening, there will be fireworks.

I won't be in my hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia, this year to enjoy Canada Day.

So I asked a few other Canadians I know who live outside of the True North, Strong and Free, how they would celebrate if they were back home.

I also asked them for their Canada Day soundtrack.

Derek Stoffel is from Regina, Saskatchewan. He lives in Jerusalem, Israel.

“On Canada Day, what I miss most is heading out to the cottage with some friends and a 2-4. Need translations? That means going out to the lake with two dozen beers. It’s the most Canadian of pastimes. My favorite Canadian song is ‘5 Days in May’ by Blue Rodeo.”

Dara McLeod is from Thunder Bay, Ontario. She lives in Washington, DC.

Her family has a cottage on Lake Shebandowan. And her lakeside drink of choice is a cocktail called a Caesar.

“If you don’t know what a Caesar is, it’s like a Bloody Mary but made with Clamato juice, instead of tomato juice. And trust me; it’s a lot better than it sounds. My favorite Canadian song is ‘Helpless’ by Neil Young, because it reminds me of home.”

Joe Rothwell lives in Boston, but he's from Unionville, Ontario. 

So it makes sense that his song choice is from the Ontario band, the Tragically Hip.

"My favorite Canadian song is ‘Wheat Kings’.

James Cowling was born in Chilliwack, British Columbia, raised in Calgary, Alberta, and now lives in London, UK.

“We’re not as patriotic as our southern neighbors, but on Canada Day we pull out all the stops. It’s a day when we can all get away with saying ‘eh’ and ‘out and about’ and we generally have a really good time. The song that I like? I’d have to say ‘If I Had $1,000,000’ by the Bare Naked Ladies."

That's a million Canadian dollars. And if I had that kind of money I'd use it to buy that cottage on the lake.

So, to all my fellow Canadians who are celebrating far away from the homeland, Happy Canada Day!

We asked a few of you Canadians to tell us what you miss on our Facebook page and on Twitter. Here are some of your replies:

What do you miss most about being in Canada on Canada Day?

"Wearing a Canadian tuxedo while winning all sorts of drinking games at a beer Olympics and then stuffing my face with poutine and waking up full of regret." — Niki from London.

"Having the opportunity to explain to other Canadians how our history of colonization and ridiculous foreign policy is nothing to be proud of." — Rebecca from Beirut.

My favo(u)rite Canadian song is: 

"The Tragically Hip's At the 100th Meridian. (When I am abroad, which is often)," Michael Wodzicki @MWodzicki24.

"Anything by Leonard Cohen," Farrah, @farrahnotsarah_

"The Hockey Song!" Suzanne Weiner @bibliosue

"'Warhol's Portrait of Gretzky' by Hawksley Workman. Wife picks 'Take this Waltz' by Leonard Cohen," Todd Lassa @AM_Lassa

"'Blame Canada' from South Park because I think we should all get off our f***** high horses and realize that dude has a point," Rebecca from Beirut.

Tell us what you think by leaving a comment below.