Thursday, July 1, 2010

Canada Day!

Today marks the 143rd anniversary of Canada as a unified country, and the 3rd anniversary of this blog as we've charted our transition from Americans living in Florida to Landed Immigrants (well, I am, Heather is of course a citizen already) in British Columbia.

We are especially pleased that this year, the Queen is in the country for the festivities, her seventh time being here during Canada Day. Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen of England, of course, but she’s also the Queen of Canada (and a number of other countries). Thus, she is not a visiting dignitary, she is just “the Queen” here. Check out her outfit!

Sadly, she is not coming to Victoria (or anywhere nearby) for this visit, but I have to say in her many visits to the country she has covered a surprising amount of this vast nation (the link is to a Google Map page with markers for all her visits; the 2010 tour is marked in yellow). She started visiting here when she was a princess and comes back often -- she genuinely seems to enjoy the country and is proud of our strong presence and influence in the Commonwealth of Nations.

You can see her message to the nation here.

Although I’ve had mixed feelings about the whole concept of royalty over my life, I’ve always been a fan of Elizabeth herself; by any standard, she’s done an outstanding job and earned her money. I continue to think that she represents a good value to the taxpayers of the UK and, in her particular case, her value as a connection to history can’t really be overstated.

I wish her luck on trying to break Queen Victoria’s record of 63 years on the throne (eight years to go!), and I hope she will get to Victoria again on a future visit; I would dearly love to see her in person one last time.

It is perhaps fitting that this particular Canada Day also marks the end of a particular path for us. I now have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and a work permit, with only an FBI background check remaining until I achieve a Permanent Residence card. It’s taken us two and half years to get to this point (your mileage may vary; see this post for a summary of our steps and missteps along the way), and in some ways it is an end to our original quest, but of course its a new beginning to a permanent life in Canada, with plenty of adventures yet to go.

We’ll continue to update this blog with a combination of personal stories of our lives and travels in both the US and Canada, along with educational or interesting tidbits from up here that we don’t think get enough attention “down there.”

In the meantime, if you’d like to celebrate Canada Day in the US, it’s pretty easy; just grab some Canadian beer, find a broadcast hockey, Canadian Football or lacrosse game, and grill stuff till Independence Day comes around. :)