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The Happiness Connection  

Happy to be Canadian

"You are a big country. You are the kindest country in the world. You are like a really nice apartment over a meth lab." — Robin Williams on Canada

It is impossible to be a Canadian, and not appreciate quotes like this one from the wonderful Robin Williams.

We love our country and there is no time like July 1 for us to unite proudly, and celebrate who we are.

With all the advertising and special deals that have sprung up, I was in no doubt that we were celebrating our 150th birthday – until I went onto the CBC website and watched a video called How old is Canada, really?

Is it possible that we might not be turning 150 this year?

The indigenous people arrived thousands of years ago, so you might argue that this was the start of Canada. I appreciate that it is hard to have a national holiday with such a vague date, so let’s move on to the next possibility.

The Act of the Union July 1840

This is when the British parliament united Upper and Lower Canada into the province of Canada. That sounds like the start of a nation to me. It even has the right name. If that is our birthday, we are 177 years old this year.

The act wasn’t proclaimed law until February 1841, so perhaps we are only 176.

The British North America Act – July 1, 1867

We are taught in school that this date marks the birth of our nation. This is when Britain created the dominion of Canada. The province of Canada joined with two other provinces to become Canada.

That sounds suspiciously like the events of 1840/41.

Yes, I know there are political differences, but you might argue that the BNA Act of 1867 didn’t do anything different that the Act of the Union in 1840.

Newfoundland joins confederation – March 31, 1949

The other provinces were added over a period of years, but Newfoundland didn’t join until 1949. This is when Canada assumed the footprint it has today. If you wanted to choose this as the day Canada became a nation, we are only 68 years old.

The Constitution Act - 1982

We weren’t completely independent until 1982. Before then, any constitutional changes Canada wanted to make, had to be approved by Britain.

If you use complete independence as your marker for our birth year, we are only 35 years old.

Nunavut becomes a Territory – April 1, 1999

When Nunavut separated from the Northwest Territories, we took on the look we have today with ten provinces and three territories. If you choose to see this as the start of Canada, we are turning 18 this year.

So how old are we, really?

I have no idea, and I don’t think it matters.

Having more than one option, for any question, decision, or belief is a common occurrence. There is rarely one choice, or viewpoint for anything.

Your opinion depends on your past experiences, the situation you are in at that moment, and your mindset.

Is the decision to celebrate Canada being 150 on July 1 the right choice? No.

Is it the wrong choice? No.

Is it simply a choice? Yes

There are numerous ways to view most situations. That is why we have differences in opinions. Is one opinion right and the others wrong?

Occasionally, but not usually.

Happy people recognize there are many ways of viewing the same thing. Rather than fighting to prove their opinion is the right one, they accept that other views have validity, and don’t take these differences personally.

Life is full of choice. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking there is always a right, and wrong answer.

How old is Canada? That depends on which date you like best.

Regardless of how old we are this year, Happy Birthday, Canada.



More The Happiness Connection articles

About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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