Proud to be Canadian

By - March 1, 2010 (Updated: November 24, 2014)

vancouver-olympics-2010People ask me all the time why I don’t live in Canada – the implication being I can’t be patriotic if I live elsewhere. The thing is I AM Canadian. That doesn’t change if I live outside of the country for five years or for 50 years. Canada will always be my home and Canadian will always be how I identify myself.

Some people will tell you that Canadians aren’t patriotic in general. This isn’t true at all. In fact most Canadians I know are fiercely proud of our country. It’s just that we don’t like to rub it in if you’re NOT Canadian, because actually, we feel kind of bad for you.

So of course the topic on every red-blooded Canadian’s mind today is the Vancouver Olympics – Wow! After a shaky start, Canada went on to collect the most gold medals in a Winter Olympics than any country EVER. That’s pretty incredible.

But it wasn’t the medals that really made this year’s Olympics for me (although being a competitive gal those bragging rights are nice too), it was the stories behind those medals. It was the strength and determination of our athletes, like Joannie Rochette whose mother passed away only two days before she was set to skate her short program. She still managed to summon the courage to win a bronze medal, despite everything she was going through.

Vancouver Olympic MascotsThere were moments during these Olympics when I felt so much pride in my country that I cried. Ok, I’m an easy crier I admit, but I was feeling really proud of my country. (Below this post you’ll find a couple of the videos that caused me to tear up.)

But no matter what we do in any other sport (or likely anything at all), Canada is most known for hockey.

I’m not a fan of team sports. This could be because I was always one of the last kids chosen for a team back in school (something to do with my utter lack of skill at shooting things in baskets or nets). I’ve never had an interest in watching sports on TV and I really don’t identify with people who obsess about a particular team – Unless it happens to be Team Canada.

Our Canadian women won their third consecutive gold medal. Now that’s a strong team! But like everyone else in Canada, it was the men’s game that I was glued to the TV for. When we lost to the USA in the semi-finals, Canadians had to put up with a lot of ribbing from our friends to the south. Who’s laughing now guys?

I have to admit, it was a nail biter of a game and both teams played extremely well. When Nova Scotian, Sidney Crosby made his winning goal in overtime – you could hear Canadians screaming around the world.

So for the next few days fellow expats, please excuse your Canadian friends, if they are overtly patriotic. We really do think Canada is the greatest country in the world and we wish everyone could be Canadian. But since you can’t, we’ll try not to rub it in too much.

Unfortunately this link will only work if you are in Canada (or if CTV thinks you’re in Canada, ahem). I searched for it on youtube with no luck but if I find it I will post the video. This is one that made me cry, twice 🙂 Why The Olympics Were Important for Canada.

UPDATE: Here it is from Youtube.

If you like this, you might like:

Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
- 1 day ago


  1. Comment by Louise

    Louise March 1, 2010 at 11:51

    Congrats on the many gold-medals. You definetly deserved them and despite my non-Canadian background, I also shared a tear for Joannie Rochette. What a sad and great story at the same time.

    Regarding being patriotic about your country, your words speak for me too. I am Danish, will always be so and perhaps even more while living outside my home country.

    🙂 Louise

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison March 1, 2010 at 12:20

      I think that patriotism often becomes stronger when you move away. For me it was about really appreciating aspects of Canada that I took for granted when I lived there.

      • Comment by Michel Soucy

        Michel Soucy March 2, 2010 at 07:03

        I totally agree with you Alison. Long live Canada in Our Heart.

        • Comment by Alison

          Alison March 2, 2010 at 10:05


  2. Comment by Andrew

    Andrew March 1, 2010 at 12:23

    Great post! There were a lot of heartfelt stories about athletes from around the world and even if they didn’t win a medal, we saw a lot of personal bests, which is really amazing in and of itself! There was also a lot of youth in these games which speaks to the 2014 games being even more competitive.

    Although Stephen Harper’s pretty dry, I thought the following quote from his address to the BC Legislature worth sharing:

    Canada, our Canada, is truly worthy of our pride and patriotism … We will ask the world to forgive us this time, this uncharacteristic outburst of patrotism and pride, our pride of being part of a country that is strong, confident, and stands tall among the nations.

    – Stephen Harper

    If you want to hear him say it, you can listen to his speech on YouTube… the quote is from about 7m30s in.

    Louise, speaking of Denmark, I was ashamed to hear about the actions of Canadian crowd in the Denmark-Canada Women’s curling match. 🙁 That’s just poor form regardless of patriotism.

    Andrew C

  3. Comment by Laura

    Laura March 1, 2010 at 13:49

    Hmm… I think I like England more now I don’t live there… I’m not sure if that really counts as patriotic though.

    I LOVE the Olympic mascots this year! What could be better than a Sasquatch in earmuffs?

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison March 1, 2010 at 14:02

      I agree – The mascots are pretty cute this year. Definitely better than the scary Chinese ones anyway 🙂

  4. Comment by Lilacspecs

    Lilacspecs March 1, 2010 at 17:45

    Sidney plays for my hometown, so if anyone had to score the winning goal against the US, I’m glad it was him.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison March 1, 2010 at 19:10

      That’s funny! Sidney is from just outside of Halifax so he’s our hometown boy too 🙂

  5. Comment by Megan

    Megan March 2, 2010 at 03:02

    Hey, and there’s even 15 seconds for the north!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison March 2, 2010 at 10:07

      You know what’s funny Meg? All of the coverage we were seeing of the torch run was from BC, Quebec, ONT and mostly the North. There was NOTHING from east of Quebec – big shock. However there were plenty of random polar bear shots. Guess that’s STILL how our neighbours see us.

  6. Comment by Alison

    Alison March 2, 2010 at 14:41

    I found the video mentioned above and it is now posted if you weren’t able to watch it before.

  7. Comment by expatraveler

    expatraveler March 3, 2010 at 02:53

    I’m so happy to finally be part of the spotlight. Those videos were so beautiful, and yes Canada is so beautiful especially as they depicted in the summer months of travels… We are lucky to be here in a land not so populated with so much to offer…

    I’m glad you are a proud Canadian Expat!

    Great story!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison March 3, 2010 at 08:51

      Thanks! Someday I actually hope to see your side of Canada 🙂 It looks fantastic!

  8. Comment by Danielle Barkhouse

    Danielle Barkhouse March 3, 2010 at 09:39

    And now my official couch-potato-ness must come to end. Bummer.

    And how awesome was Sid the Kid with that winning goal?

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison March 3, 2010 at 10:37

      Well at least Feb. is a good time to be a couch potato… too freakin’ cold to do anything else. And yeah, that goal was pretty awesome 🙂

  9. Comment by tez

    tez March 8, 2010 at 06:56

    Fantastic Alison – you echoed my sentiments exactly – the sentiments of most expat Canadians I imagine! I feel a bit empty now that it’s over.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison March 8, 2010 at 09:09

      Yes it is kind of quiet now that it’s over. I guess will just have to get ready to cheer Canada at the Summer Olympics now 🙂

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