The Real Canada is in the diversity of its places and its people. It is not ice and snow and myths about snowshoes and mosquitoes, although those are in it. It is not just about the major urban centres or the social elite. Nor our exported or retained celebrities. Those too are part and parcel of our country but not the real thing. It is the people in all the cities and the small and middle sized towns that support one another in adversity and bad weather. It is farmers and fishermen and fire fighters and folk singers; it is parents and grandparents and kids and dogs. It is on the outdoor rinks and frozen lakes in the Maritimes, on the prairies, in the Rockies and in Quebec and Ontario where kids and adults gather to play the Canadian game, whether they are good at it or not. It’s pond hockey and street hockey. It’s northern lights and southern lakes.It’s the accent of Newfoundland. It’s the Celtic music of the Maritimes and the songs of the western cowboys. It’s the accent of Quebec which makes me glad my grandchildren will be able to speak more than one language. It’s the railroad running from sea to shining sea. It’s the highway running from Victoria, B.C. all the way to St. John’s, Newfoundland. It is the people who grow the real food, not in labs or on factory farms with chickens in cages or pigs in small pens, but in beloved fields under the rising sun where they run the soil through their hands hoping for a better tomorrow for themselves and their children. It is the beauty of the lakes and streams and mountains and oceans. It is the wild places where the moose and bear and wolves still roam. It is a myriad of rocks and trees and alpine flowers. It is people who save seeds and grow what their grandmothers grew. It is people who care about nature and peace. And technology that allows us to share all these things with others. It is the ocean that smells of life, the glacier that smells of eternity and the wild rose that smells of tomorrow. It is the scent of ripening grain, the taste of a tomato just picked from the vine and the aroma of a rainbow trout freshly cooked beside an unspoiled stream. It is people whose ancestry includes so many different nations that we could only be Canadian. One picture cannot do Canada justice. Nor can one person’s view. Tell me about your Real Canada.