In Canada, the tradition of getting together with loved ones over a large feast to express gratitude for a happy event and other blessings goes back many years. It began long before the Pilgrims arrived in the United States and started a similar celebration there. But it was only in 1957 when the second Monday in October was proclaimed a statutory holiday for Canadian Thanksgiving.
On October 9th, as Canada celebrates Thanksgiving Day, Canadian Filipinos bow their heads in grateful appreciation for the many blessings they have received in their adopted country:
Rina: I thank Canada for giving Filipinos a second home.
George: I’m thankful that in BC, we live in a place where wilderness still exists and is valued and protected. That Canadians are friendly, welcoming and neighbourly people, where cooperation, lending a helping hand to others and playing by the rules are prioritized. And that
Canada places a high value on the social safety net and diversity.
Maya: I'm thankful that Canada is a country where the importance of respecting our rights and freedoms is emphasized. That Canadians are aware of the impacts of climate change and are actively trying to stop it. Even though there are incidences of hate in Canada, the country as a whole is welcoming towards all types of people and works to outshine hatred with love.
Ellen: I'm thankful that in Canada there’s very little racial tension among its diverse population. However, I wish the government would stop using the racist term “visible minority” to refer to people of colour. It diminishes its warm welcome of all kinds of people by singling out people based on their skin colour. In some places in Canada, these ‘visible minorities” are already the majority in their communities.
Lori: Being in Canada is like being in transit in an international airport; you're always surrounded by an international crowd. And can eat international food.
Judith: Thank you Canada for a FREE nature experience in FREE parks that everyone can enjoy, young or old. It's a nice pleasure to have in this world for FREE.
Julie: I am grateful for Canada’s universal health care system which guarantees free access and equal health care services regardless of status, income, employment, health or age.
Lotis: I am thankful for the feeling of safety, unlimited opportunities for me and my family and for the freedom to practice the religion of my choice.
Elsa: I’m thankful for a reliable postal system that delivers mail promptly and does not lose mail with checks or important documents. Yay for Canada Post!
Lou: Aside from our universal health care in Canada, the envy of the USA they say, I am grateful to live in Canada which values the integrity of nature as a basic human right for all of us to enjoy. My little town of Richmond Hill has 21 parks, big and small. Two of them are built around a huge lake and the other, around a big pond located in the middle of town. We have hiking trails, woods and forests to explore and bylaws to protect trees, birds and animals in our region. Housing developers have to replant trees and allocate mandatory areas for green zones like a park, playground or landscape features. This basic respect for nature is echoed in all aspects of city planning and we can see it in the health of our community and the beauty of our little town.
Edna. I am truly grateful for Canada's magnificent natural beauty, clean air, peace, egalitarian educational system and quality medicare.
Oscar B. I appreciate the quality of life in Canada. In Vancouver, we are blessed with clean air, potable tap water, accessible parks and recreation, navigable streets and traffic, affordable medical and health care, a relatively efficient government and bureaucracy, a first-rate education system, awesome scenery, and a temperate climate.
Vic P. I moved to Canada to live in a more orderly society. Although in my heart I am a Filipino who truly loves his country and hopes and fervently prays that the Philippines rise above the politics of the rich and the ruthless who think “me first, country last.”
Tony C. I am grateful for being born in and living through the 20th century, possibly the most productive century in the history of mankind. With the unparalleled progress in technology -- the invention of cars, airplanes, computers, the internet, space exploration and the like -- the world's wonders and knowledge are now within reach of everybody, not only the privileged class, although this progress which has given us the capability to greatly enrich our future has also given us the capability to use the same tools for our own destruction, depending on how we use these tools.
Manolo A. As we Filipino Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving we should reflect on the fact that we live in a wealthy nation without Trump, where the limits to our potential lie only in our resolve, where it is fun to live in ethnically-diverse communities not harassed by racist extremists, a land where our kids go to the same schools like those of the children of street sweepers as well as Prime Ministers, where one can enjoy the sights of Switzerland at lower prices, relish the best of Chinese cuisine without worrying about fake-ingredients, and smoke marijuana without having to worry about Détente’s murderous police.
And I say, Amen. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. ERL