Meghan and Harry are breaking tradition leaving the Royals and movin’ on up to Canada. Good for them. Adulting looks like this.
As an observer of this British theatre, I understand they’re incensed with the press. I share in that. Their anger, stemming from being pursued, and mine from naive comments made about Canada by people like Joy Behar from “The View” and British reporter Keir Simmons of the NBC Morning Show “Today.” Both have me seeing red and royally pissed off. Joy recently stated that Canada could use some ‘glam’ by having the Royals move here. Keir, who happened to be in Toronto on one of those classic frigid January days, stated, ‘he doesn’t know why anyone would want to come here.’
Joy, Keir. Listen up. We’ve always been glamorous. We define it from a perspective of compassion, not ego. We’re glamorous because we are kind and not our ego’s bitch.
A good example is our national health care. A system that exists for all of us. How you address the most vulnerable in your society speaks to your humanity as a collective. Though many outside of Canada want to label our health care to evoke fear for their political gain and agendas, we experience it void of labels and ingratitude. And for those who don’t know, it’s not free. We pay for it through our taxes.
Our glamour lies in the fantastic terrain of this gorgeous country. From surfing off the coast of Tofino to skiing in the Rockies. Experiences that attract people globally, not to mention all the cosmopolitan and sophisticated cities in between. Ours is a nation that is home to the largest number of freshwater lakes on the planet, the stunning aurora borealis, and parks that are bigger than some countries.
We do glam differently – quietly. We don’t have a paparazzi culture. We do have some of the most amazing fashion designers, with our own Oscar de la Renta, who answers to the name of Brian Bailey. We have the best hair, make-up and clothing stylists on the planet who all work internationally. I know, I’ve worked with them. The same is true for all the professionals from artists to scientists. We are home to some of the best writers and researchers on the planet. Tell Margaret Atwood she’s not glamorous. She doesn’t give a crap. She’d be happy to be anonymous and do what she loves because that’s being Canadian.
Fame isn’t a natural state of being, so it makes sense as a nation that we don’t chase it. We have our unique brand of northern Zen. Ours isn’t the country to get noticed in as Canada is a cruel mother who insists you leave home and make it big elsewhere. Only then can you return to declare your success. That is where our humility stems from, and our major flaw exists. If Meaghan or Harry are hassled, it’ll be by outsiders, not by us. We don’t roll that way.
We are the world’s most educated country, with close to 65% of Canadians possessing passports. The mall of America is owned by who else, Canadians and our currency uses braille. Sure some of us say ‘eh,’ but I’ve never met anyone who says ‘aboot.’ We not only have British royalty, but we are also home to Hollywood, music and literary royalty. From Celine Dion to Drake, Joni Mitchell to David Foster, Alice Monro to Margaret Laurence, Shania Twain to James Cameron. From Rachel McAdams to Norman Jewison, Ryan Gosling to Lilly Singh to Sandra Oh. Oh, we’ve got it in spades.
We possess a unique sense of elegance and sophistication without pretense. We are tres chic in how we do four seasons with exquisite style and an understated ‘cool’ you won’t find anywhere else on the planet. We are bilingual with French no less as our second language amongst a backdrop of hundreds of different cultures, languages, foods, people and customs. We have diamonds, are rich in diversity, embrace the LGBTQ community, have a growing vegan population and can pick up CBD oil while we get our milk and bread. Who wouldn’t want to live here? Your weather reports featured on your various news programs often don’t show land north of the border, but that’s okay. We’re polite, so we don’t heed it as being dissed. We know we exist like an awesome private party hidden behind a big building.
Often, our military is the first to show up, and they do so as peacekeepers void of the press, filled with courage. On 911, the good folks of Gander, Newfoundland welcomed planes filled with strangers who landed here and immediately embraced them with generosity and compassion. A story that became a Broadway musical called “Come from Away.” The love and hospitality exhibited, so Canadian, leaving glamour in the dust.
Canadians are not about showing off but showing up. Wherever there’s a crisis, you’ll find us. We’re dependable. People can laugh and make fun of us. We’ll laugh back because we’re also the largest exporter of comedians like Samantha Bee, Seth Rogan, Dan Aykroyd, Eugene and Daniel Levy and Catherine O’Hara and, of course, Lorne Michaels of SNL nobility. Some people who don’t know us perpetuate myths like we live in the woods or igloos. Tell that to world-renowned architects Frank Gehry or Moshe Safdi. Yup, they’re one of us. There’s also that journalist from a little show called 60 Minutes, the late Morley Safer, king of debate and discussion who grew up in the same hood as me. Canadians love to debate and discuss. Just ask Canadian Alex Trebeck, who is also from this gorgeous hinterland. And of course, there’s Daniel Dale’s daily Trump check. The Canadian journalist who fact-checked the fact-challenged president from 2016-2019. Yup, the auditor of truth, is a Canadian.
Canadians don’t cultivate adoration; it is incongruent to who we are. We’d rather direct that energy to more pressing issues like peace. Something we take seriously having no weapons of mass destruction since 1984 with signed treaties repudiating their possession.
As for sports, we have produced amazing athletes and a stellar fan base. We can spank anyone when it comes to hockey. A game we gave birth to, not only for the boys but our girls are also the best on the planet. As for basketball, that’s right; it was invented by one of us – a Canadian.
We welcome Meghan and Harry to the most glamorous, rugged and compassionate nation. Second largest landmass on the globe. Being a Commonwealth country, they will never be homesick for the Queen as they’ll be able to walk into any Legion hall, greeted by a photo of her Majesty, while chatting with neighbours and, of course, grabbing a pint of cold Canadian beer. Something we also happen to be a champion of and the same for wine — home to fabulous vineyards, our ice wines the best on the planet. Meaghan and Harry might not be charged for their beverage, but they may have to pony up money for a game of snooker and there on the face of the currency will be Harry’s grandmother once again.
Truth is we’re so cool we have to dial it down. So Joy, Keir, I invite you to come and spend some time in our Rockies. Ski some of the most magnificent mountains on the planet. Walk down Graffiti Alley or go to West Queen West in Toronto and experience their Queen of Hearts festivities in February or West Queer West event in June. Take in the gorgeous and sexy city of Montreal and travel to the Laurentians. Make friends with the talented Canadians that exists from coast to coast. Grab an edible or surf our west coast. Dine in the multitude of five-star restaurants. We’re terrific foodies. Visit our communities on the east coast and perhaps stay a few days on Fogo Island. Do the tour from the pavement, not from a hotel room or a computer screen, because you know not of what you speak. I’ll bet you anything you will not only discover how glamourous we are but realize what Meghan and Harry already know; as a people and a country; we are filled with beauty power and grace.
Are we perfect as a nation, no. We’re flawed, but we’re an active work in progress consistently focused on improving. We try not to produce assholes, but every once in a while, they surface and go towards the light where we keep a watch on them in an arena called politics.
Joy, Kier, we love you but understand we define glam differently north of the border, and it comes with a massive serving of compassion. That’s what makes us Canadian. We abhor those that brag, and when we apologize, we own it. Imagine if everyone took responsibility for themselves in that manner.
The late Robin Williams said it best, “You are a big country. You are the kindest country in the world. You are like a really nice apartment over a meth lab.”
Who’s the glamorous one now?