It’s a pretty busy day across most of this country. Here in Ontario it is Family Day , so we hope you’re spending the day taking advantage of all the activities specially designed for this day in and around the city. In Prince Edward Island it is Islander Day, celebrated this year with the premiere of a new Anne of Green Gables movie! In many respects, the famous work of literature by Lucy Maud Montgomery put PEI on the map, and is still one of the defining points of interest regarding the province, having attracted millions of visitors to the island since the book’s publication in 1908.
Nova Scotia is also getting in on the provincial pride, celebrating Heritage Day today. Each Year, the province honours a famous Nova Scotian, and this year pays tribute to Joseph Howe, the noted nineteenth century poet, politician and newspaper publisher who is still regarded as a legend in Nova Scotia.
To our west, Manitoba observes this day as Louis Riel Day. Louis Riel was, of course, one of the most important and controversial figures in Canadian history; a founding father of the province of Manitoba and leader of the Métis peoples in Manitoba, Riel’s vision of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Métis themselves ultimately saw him hanged for high treason in 1885. Today he is honoured throughout that province, and in the rest of the country opinion is still somewhat mixed, with some folks avering that Lois Riel was suffering from major mental issues and others calling for his exoneration.
Though not all provinces celebrate a holiday today, there is one national celebration that all of us as Canadians should take note of: today is National Flag Day. For many Canadians, our flag is a source of pride, and is continuously in the discussion as one of the best and most recognized flags in the world, and most likely to be seen sewn on a backpack. So for all of us that take that flag for granted, we should realize that it wasn’t our flag until 1965, and even then, it took a lot of political will and bickering to make it happen.
Whether we are celebrating Islander Day, Heritage Day, Loius Riel Day, Flag Day, or Family Day, we should take a minute to remember those who have paved the way for us to be able to live in comfort and security in this great country, and to have the privilege to take a day off, just to hang with the family. Even if it is February.