We asked kids what it means to be Canadian. You’ll love what they had to say
BY Sydney Loney
When I took my kids to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax last summer (ok, dragged them—they thought it was “just another museum”), their reaction to the exhibits reminded me just how lucky we are to be Canadian—and how important it is for us to celebrate Canada with our children.
In one exhibit, kids could write on little luggage tags about what they’d pack if they had to leave their homes forever as refugees. My son Charlie, who was 10 at the time, wrote simply, “My family.”
The whole experience got us talking about being Canadian, something we’ve all taken for granted, if I’m being honest. Although I can’t remember what Charlie said at the time, when I ask him now what it means to be Canadian, he says “multiculturalism.” Wondering whether this is just one of those words that crop up in Grade 6 but to which kids attach no real meaning, I asked him what he meant by that. He replied, “It’s the fact a lot of people in Canada accept a lot of other people no matter where they’re from or what they look like. That’s what being Canadian is.” (The kid said it better than I ever could have.)
Why not ask your own kids? You might be surprised by what they say. And if you’ve never visited Pier 21, add the Museum to your East Coast to-do list. Exploring the shared stories of the experiences of new Canadians—the things they brought with them, the things they left behind, the reasons they made Canada their new home, what they feared, what they hoped for—stayed with us long after we left in search of lobster rolls for lunch.
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