Jacqueline Van Horne was among the Grade 5 St. Joseph's school students whom we asked what Canada Day means.

Lessons from elementary school on Canada Day

Tomorrow marks my 17th Canada Day in Nelson and it never gets old. Growing up in Calgary, it seemed celebrating Canada’s birthday was more about an extra day off than a community celebration. July 1 in Nelson is one of the best days of the year.

Tomorrow marks my 17th Canada Day in Nelson and it never gets old. Growing up in Calgary, it seemed celebrating Canada’s birthday was more about an extra day off than a community celebration. July 1 in    Nelson is one of the best days of the year.

Over the years I’ve been charged with putting together the front page of the Canada Day newspaper and it’s always daunting. How to properly mark the occasion is never easy. Most times I’ve failed to do it justice.

Today’s front page is different and I think does manage to capture the essence of this day and this great nation.

Earlier this month I charged my daughter’s Grade 5/6 class at St. Joseph’s Elementary with a little assignment: let the readers of the Nelson Star know what Canada means to them.

Ten and 11-year-old children have an ability to bring freshness to something well worn. Still innocent, they stand on the precipice of a hormone avalanche all parents dread.

They have learned plenty to this point and are perceptive enough to understand the world, yet they look upon it with unclouded eyes.

Mrs. Graham’s class didn’t disappoint.

Words repeated in most of the submissions included: beautiful, free, safe, peaceful and secure. I think we can all agree — regardless of age — these words define Canada.

There were a few other gems in the stack of 28 submissions that are worth sharing.

“It means a place that has lots of open space and vegetation,” writes Tessa Timmermans. We are certainly fortunate to live in a country and more specifically a community so full of wild spaces and natural beauty.

“It is a beautiful country. It has lots of sports,” according to Les Trainor. Though we can always do better, Canada is certainly a country where healthy lifestyles are encouraged.

“Canadians are nice. Canada is the best country,” was included in Sophia Kabatoff’s paragraph. If you conducted a worldwide survey, I’m pretty sure Canadians would score near the top of the class on the niceness meter.

“Canada is a place where many immigrants have made their home happily,” came from Sarah Beaudoin. Most Canadians don’t have to trace too far back to find their roots spread from somewhere else and we should never lose our pride in being tolerant.

“Canada is the best place because of the best medical care,” writes Cora LeBleu. Though it certainly has some flaws, our health care system is something that distinguishes our nation from so many others.

“Canada also means a land full of imagination,” is what my daughter Ashley wrote. Our ability to dream and create is what helps fill in the edges around our character.

“Canada is a free democracy. I am lucky that I am an occupant and citizen of Canada. Canadians are loyal to their country and the population is evenly distributed,” asserts Noah Gaffran. Well, I just had to mention this because with that submission Noah is clearly going to be running the show in Ottawa one day.

“Canada is awesome. It is truly the country to live in,” writes Marley Reynold. This pretty much sums it all up.

Those are some of the best lines, but all the students did a great job in helping capture what makes this nation so great.

In the world far removed from elementary school, there is too often an air of cynicism and skepticism. Though this nation is blessed with so much, we adults too often complain it’s not enough.

We get wrapped up in political dogma and ideals that yank us away from truly appreciating what we have and what we can achieve.

So thanks to kids in Mrs. Graham’s class. You may only be 10 and 11, but your wisdom is something we call grab hold of today and in all the days to come.


Just Posted

Parmedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Update: Car located in Pend d’Oreille River, teenagers remain missing

A fundraiser has been set up at Kootenay Savings in Fruitvale to help support the family

Award winning documentary to be screened in Nelson

‘The Bikes of Wrath’ will run April 5 and 6 at The Front Room

LETTER: Clean water is a right for First Nations

From readers Sandra Hartline and Keith Wiley

Winlaw Elementary to get new playground

It’s being funded by the provincial government

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

Avalanche control tomorrow on Highway 1

Expect closures of up to two hours east of Revelstoke

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Most Read