"The line which marks off the frontier from the farmstead, the wilderness from the baseland, the hinterland from the metropolis, runs through every Canadian psyche."
(Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail quoting historian W. L. Morton.)
Some of my posts have generated comments regarding Canadian content and the vastness of this country — our “True North Strong and Free.” (A line from Canada’s national anthem.)
Yesterday our 2006 census was released. There are 31,612,897 Canadians. More than four-fifths of us live in urban areas.
In his column, MacGregor recalls a survey conducted by The Globe and Mail in 2003. One of the questions asked what most defined and symbolized this country to those who live here.
“They didn't choose medicare. They didn't pick hockey. They didn't say traffic snarls, Tim Hortons or minority governments. No, 89 per cent of them said it was the sheer vastness of the land.”
Despite our urban crowding, we still think this way. All we have to do is drive a few hours north to become part of that vastness, that natural beauty and wilderness. For some, such an escape is possible. For others, it is a dream.
For the majority of Canadians, it remains a cherished notion of our country and its possibilities – an integral part of our identity.