Patriotism is a word many like to associate themselves with, but is truly lived by only a few. It spans continents and oceans, and can often be found in unexpected tucked-away corners of the world. This year on Canada’s 150th birthday, the whole country celebrated, but nowhere could the festivities compare to the ones held in the small, tight-knit communities of Acton and Georgetown in Halton Hills. On April 28th, 2017, as part of the Canada Day celebration, the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce announced the town of Halton Hills would aim to snatch the crown away from the reigning “Most Patriotic Town” of Thorold, which had just under 10,000 flags flown in 2015. This event, dubbed the “Most Patriotic Town Challenge”, went on until July 1st, and asked residents of either Acton or Georgetown to hang Canadian flags anywhere visible from the street, and register them at https://haltonhillscanada150.ca/ to help keep track. The initial goal was 15,000 flags, however due to the overwhelming response the threshold was raised to 30,000. And now that the final weigh is in, as of July 1st, there were 57,073 flags registered online; meaning Acton and Georgetown beat Thorold by 47,073 flags! If you’re from Halton Hills or have ever visited one or more of the wonderful communities in the area, it doesn’t come to you as much of a surprise that they would take over the title with such great success. With a meager combined population of roughly 50,000, Acton and Georgetown are small places but with enough patriotism to pull off such a feat. The people there are proud of their heritage and the challenge only served as extra motivation to show off an attitude that is otherwise already there for 365 days of the year. During the time that the challenge was running, you might have even spotted other countries’ flags alongside Canadian ones. This was what many residents did to shed some light on multiculturalism and Canada’s significant immigrant population. In fact, according to population projections by Statistics Canada, immigrants could represent 24.5% to 30.0% of Canada’s population in 2036. Canada prides itself on acceptance and diversity, and having a community show support for these two things leaves me, a first-generation child, with nothing but pure delight and love in my heart. It’s easy to be patriotic in a country that welcomes and accepts all.
In many instances, people tend to forget how good it might feel to pay homage to your country every once in a while, and show appreciation for the nation that represents you, and the nation that you are representing. However, with a place as great as Canada, it’s hard not to celebrate all that it stands for. So Happy 150th Canada! This country that we call home, is worth celebrating.