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Happy Birthday Canada

I had the pleasure of Emceeing this year’s Canada Day festivities. As I looked out from the gazebo at the massive crowds in Palmer Park, I realized how fortunate we are to live in the greatest town, in the greatest province, in the greatest country on the planet.

Everyone is proud of where they live, but the troubles and issues we face locally are nothing compared to what some people in other nations are up against. Eastern Europe is in turmoil, Asia is trying to get out of a massive recession, and even the US is becoming a haven for violence. Here we are, strolling along a picturesque lake, free from threats and walking shoulder to shoulder, all getting along.

If you are looking to define a community which comes together whenever needs arise, you need to look no further than Scugog. Hundreds of people enjoyed free pizza, hot dogs, a 1,200 cupcake birthday cake, an afternoon of free entertainment, and unbelievably amazing fireworks.

Prices are going up, although gasoline dropped this week. Staffing issues cause concerns for businesses, and inflation is making us think twice before we buy things, but few of us go without.

For those who do struggle, the town comes together. We donate to Operation Scugog, we raised enough money in record time to buy a CT scanner, we rally around refugees from faraway countries and open our doors and our purses to welcome them here, and we built one of the best Hospice centres anywhere. We do it all because we care.

Canada Day is a time for reflecting on what we have, but also on the opportunities we have. It is a time to honour those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to keep us free and safe. Perhaps because I was once a new Canadian, I appreciate what I have more than if I was born here, but if you look around and talk to your neighbours, it does not take long to realize we have a great deal to be thankful for.

Happy 155th birthday, Canada!

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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