Celebrate #Canada150 By Buying Canadian

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location: East Village River Path

As we approach Canada’s 150th birthday this weekend I am full of mixed emotions. On the one hand I know how privileged I am to be born and live in this country. On the other I’m becoming more aware of its painful history. Specifically, I am mindful of the human cost that has got us to this point. All in all, I’m caught somewhere between pride, gratefulness, and guilt.

I feel some guilt due to the sacrifices and atrocities that have been thrust upon my fellow citizens. Canada was created nearly 150 years ago by stealing it from others. The colonists, and my eventual ancestors, just came here and took it. Since learning these truths I have a very hard time celebrating that. Another part of the guilt comes from knowing that the history I learned about in the school I went to was only a fraction of the story. As a nation I know we’re taking steps towards reconciliation but it does feel a bit gross celebrating 150 years when this land and its indigenous peoples have a history many hundreds of years previous to 1857.

I too am filled with gratefulness. I am grateful that my home has fought, earned, and protected rights for women, for the LGBTQ community, for minorities, for those with less than a fair share, and for anyone who feels other. I’m reminded of that saying, “Unless we’re all free, none of us are free.”

I am prideful because of the nation we are becoming. It’s a nation that, to me, endeavors to be open and inclusive. One that encourages and legislatively protects the right to be whomever you are as you are or want to become. We have a long way yet to go but I am at times excruciatingly aware of how good we have it.

No nation is perfect. I know this. Perfect isn’t a thing. This country is super complex considering how young it is. It takes all kinds of people to make it home. We can help protect the homes of our neighbours by supporting fellow Canadians. Providing our neighbours with the choice to live where and how they wish. I want all Canadians to have the equal opportunity of choice to earn a living and support their family. Research shows that when a family thrives and spends in their community, we all win.

In the spirit of supporting your local community, here are a few places that you can get great items and feel good knowing you supported them and their family.

Calgary Based: Camp Brand Goods | Espy Experience | Mark’s

Indigenous Artisans: Manitobah MukluksSetsune Indigenous Fashion Incubator | Viola

Local Designers: Lauren Bagliore | Anneke Forbes | Paul HardyHouse of Nonie

There are so many different people, experiences, and life stories in our great nation. No matter how different we may all seem, we all have one thing in common for sure: each other.

While I reflect this Canada Day I will choose to focus on hopefulness. I am hopeful that we Canadians will continue to create and protect safe spaces for all types of Canadians so we all can thrive. As we celebrate #Canada150 I’ll do a little local shopping too.