We Are More

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Did you see the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Games?  What did you like best?  There was so much to like!  I loved that it began with a welcome from the aboriginal peoples – as I thought it should!  Weren’t the whales awesome!?  And the fiddlers!?  The tap dancers!?  I loved that it reflected our various regions, from sea to sea.  I loved the showcase of Canadian talent:  Donald Sutherland, Joni Mitchell, Bryan Adams, Sarah McLaughlan, k.d. lang, Nelly Furtado.  And let’s not forget the words of Chief Dan George, the words and music of Leonard Cohen!  Alleluia!   OK, I could have done without Ben Mulroney, but, oh well…   And I am among those who enjoyed Nikki Yanofsky’s “jazzy” version of our National Anthem.  Who says it has to be solemn!?  Is solemn how we define ourselves?  I don’t think so!

But a highlight for me?  It has to be the poem by Shane Koyczan!  Didn’t that make you burst with pride?  Define Canada?  “We are more” he said.  And indeed we are!  Let’s be more, Canada!  Let’s be more!  Let’s be more than “owning the podium”, more than winning gold.  Let’s recognize the awesome field of competitors who have come to Canada, and no matter where they finish, let’s recognize all the effort that our athletes have invested to be among them.  Let’s recognize what an honour it is to host these games, and to showcase our beautiful country.  And let’s show us as a people to be all that Shane Koyczan described us to be in his wonderful poem.  Let’s be more!

We Are More
By Shane Koyczan

Define Canada.
You might say the home of ‘The Rocket’ or ‘The Great One’
Who inspired little number 9’s into little number 99’s
But we are more than just hockey and fishing lines off the rocky coast of the Maritimes
And some say that what defines us is something as simple as please and thank you
And as for you’re welcome, well we say that too.
But we are more than just genteel or civilized
We are an idea in the process of being realized
We are young
We are a culture strung together and then woven into a tapestry
And the design is what makes us more than just the sum totals of our history
We are an experiment going right for a change
With influences that range from A to Z(ed)
And yes we say ‘zed’ instead of ‘zee’
We are the colours of Chinatown, the coffee of Little Italy
We dream so big that there are those that would call our ambition an industry
Because we are vineyards of good year after good year
We reforest what we clear because we believe in generations beyond our own
Knowing now that so many of us have grown past what we used to be
We can stand here today filled with all the hope people have
When they say things like “someday”
Because we are more than a laundry list that of things to do and places to see
More than hills to ski and countryside ponds to skate
We are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can’t wait
We are first-rate greasy spoon diners and healthy living cafes
A country that is all the ways you choose to live
A nation that can give you variety because we are choices
We are millions upon millions of voices shouting
Keep exploring
We are more
We are the surprise the world has in store for you
It’s true
Canada is the “what” in what’s new?
So don’t let your luggage define your travels
Each life unravels differently
And experiences are what makes the colours of our tapestry
We are the true north strong and free.
And what’s more is that we didn’t just say it
We made it be.