Regardless of where you go in the world, so long as you have a Canadian flag sewn on your pack, you are pretty much guaranteed to be treated well — it’s not a secret that many Americans have taken to sewing our maple leaf all over their gear in order to sneak under the radar.
Some places, though, are extra special to us Canadians, and as a Canuck you are almost morally obligated to visit them at least once in your lifetime. Plus, even if you aren’t Canadian, they’re still awesome places to visit.
After housing the Dutch royal family from German occupation in World War II and having one of their princesses born in Ottawa, Canadians liberated the Netherlands from the Nazis and thus the two countries became friends.
Canadians not only liberated the country, but also provided air drops to areas cut off from food by the German forces, and after the liberation moved in to bring much needed supplies to the troops.
Every year the Netherlands sends thousands of tulips to our country as a continued thanks for our help.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge occurred when Canada got tired of being in Britain’s shadow, kicked some butt, and became all-around badasses. We created new artillery tactics and stood on our own with all four of our divisions finally united, all while under heavy fire.
Vimy became a symbol of the birth of Canada as a nation, and going to pay your respects to the thousands of Canadians who fought and died there is something every Canadian should do.
Laura Secord’s Homestead (Niagara-on-the-Lake)
Not only is Niagara-on-the-Lake beautiful, but it is also the location of Laura Secord’s house.
Who is she other than the face on that delicious chocolate? She is the woman who helped alert the British of an American attack during the war of 1812 by walking 20 miles through American-occupied territory. Although her story has become something of myth at this point, she is still an important part of our history. (Anne of Green Gables’ house in PEI is also just as valid a choice.)
Turks and Caicos
Last year there was a proposal sent out by an Albertan MP proposing that the British-owned islands Turks and Caicos should unite with Canada to become our 11th province.
Obviously that didn’t happen, but it still isn’t quite off the table yet, nor is it a new idea. In fact, the idea has been tossed around for almost 100 years, starting in 1917. Even in 2004, Nova Scotia voted unanimously to invite the islands to join. So go visit the beaches and get a small taste of what could have been, and what may still be.
Americans aren’t allowed to go to Cuba, and that’s reason enough to go and rub it in their faces while smoking Cuban cigars and exploring this fascinating country.
(Posted originally in my IMPRINT column “A Broad Abroad”)