25 reasons to love Canada

We have a lot of great things going for us in the Great White North. Here are 25 reasons to feel proud of Canada

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We take a stand

From Greenpeace’s campaigns against GMOs and climate change to Vice’s front-line reporting to Adbusters’ Occupy Wall Street movement, we have a vital tradition of protest-and a richer democracy as a result.

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We’re dogs’ best friends

Inspired by a group in the U.S., Vancouver dog trainer Gini Green recently launched Pilots N Paws Canada, a program to help relocate pooches in overcrowded shelters to less doggy-dense areas, where they have a better chance of finding a forever home.

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Our dreams can come true

Shawn Van Daele, who lives near Guelph, Ont., is teaching sick kids that anything is possible: he makes them the stars of their own storybooks using digital illustration of original photography.

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We define sportsmanlike conduct

At the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Canadian cross-country skiing coach Justin Wadsworth-and his spare ski-came to the rescue of Russian Anton Gafarov after the athlete wiped out and busted his equipment.

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No one does winter better

Sure, we know how to embrace cold weather-tobogganing, hangboarding and snowshoeing were all invented here-but we also know how to fight it: with underground cities, connected office towers, indoor water parks and snow blowers.

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Our sweet temptations

Quebec is the world’s largest producer of maple syrup, the stuff great ice cream, marinades and pancake breakfasts are made of. In 2012, the amber liquid was the target of an $18-million heist, the stuff Hollywood movies are made of. The upcoming film will star Jason Segel.

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We’re sharing the catch

Thanks to Nanaimo, B.C., resident Jon Pimlott, wheelchair-accessible fishing is no longer restricted to dry land. He’s found simple, inexpensive ways to adapt small craft-canoes and rowboats-for people with disabilities.

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We’re technologically adorable

Brooks Way didn’t realize he’d lost his phone until his friend’s sister pointed out the video that had been posted to his Instagram account. A group of Waterloo, Ont., kids found the phone and decided to make a cute video message-“We found your phone”-interspersed with clips of them skateboarding.

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Our spaceman

It’s possible we love Chris Hadfield even more now that he’s back among us Earthlings, touring schools, skyping with students and tweeting answers to questions about spacesuits.

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We’re caring for kids

With the support of UNICEF, University of British Columbia professor Judy McLean’s program to provide essential nutrition to children in Rwanda was recently expanded to include 250,000 toddlers. “My goal is to reach all the kids in this age range,” said McLean.

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We’re entertainers

In 1984, a troupe of Québécois street performers, led by Guy Laliberté, founded Cirque du Soleil. Last year, close to 15 million people worldwide saw a Cirque show, and the province’s penchant for acrobatics has expanded to include Cirque Éloize, Les 7 doigts de la main and two specialty schools, making Montreal circus central.

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Our comic overlords

Some people think Canadians aren’t funny, but that’s only because we’ve been so nice about our total domination of humour! If we may issue a polite reminder of our stars: Leslie Nielsen, Stephen Leacock (Groucho Marx was a fan), Seth Rogen, SCTV, Jay Baruchel, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, the Kids in the Hall, Jonathan Goldstein, Lorne Michaels, Russell Peters, Martin Short and Samantha Bee, not to mention Drake and his hilarious undercover streeters.

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Our on-screen sweethearts

Two of Hollywood’s current crushes hail from here: Regina’s Tatiana Maslany, who masterfully portrays a handful of clones like it ain’t no thing in the sci-fi hit TV show Orphan Black, and Halifax’s Ellen Page, whose moving coming-out speech showed us she doesn’t just kick butt as Kitty Pryde in X-Men.

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We’re unravelling the mysteries of the human heart

Last year, the Nobel committee awarded its literature prize to Alice Munro, declaring that her short-story writing has “come close to solving the greatest mystery of them all: the human heart and its caprices.”

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We’re there for each other

Vancouver artist Jeff Hamada is out to boost spirits. In February, he offered to send a postcard with an encouraging note penned by a stranger to anyone who commented on his blog, Booooooom.com. They just had to provide their mailing addresses and descriptions of their woes.

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We know so many things!

What game was invented by two Montrealers after they bemoaned the cost of replacing Scrabble sets because of lost tiles? Trivial Pursuit! The most successful board game in Canadian history is 35 years old and still taxing our ephemeral knowledge with apps, new card decks, party versions and special editions (including Disney and Lord of the Rings).

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We got game

Not only did we give the world basketball (thank you, James Naismith), but we also gave the world NBA super­star Steve Nash, as well as Brampton, Ont., a hotbed of top league talent like Anthony Bennett and Tristan Thompson. And how about those Raptors? A for effort.

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Even our pets root for the home team

How many countries can say that about their four-legged friends?

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Our national broadcaster

Sure, it has slashed staff and lost hockey broadcasting rights, but CBC still means Anna Maria Tremonti, Peter Mansbridge, Rick Mercer, Shaun Majumder, Eleanor Wachtel, Stuart McLean…

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We play it again (and again)

“Hockey Night in Canada” was the first broadcast to use instant replay back in 1955, when producer George Retzlaff employed a new process to recreate footage of a goal. We’ve been watching live events over and over ever since, with Major League Baseball the latest to adopt the technology for all game play in 2014.

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We pay it forward

Last July, a man walked into a Tim Hortons in Edmonton and bought coffee for the next 500 customers. Days later, other people did the same in Calgary, Ottawa and Red Deer, Alta.

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We’re saving the world from supervillainy

Created by Toronto artist Jeff Lemire, Equinox-a 16-year-old Cree girl from Moose Factory, Ont.-is the newest addition to DC Comics’ roster of superheroes.

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It’s all in the family

Our awesome athletes come in genetic bundles: the Dufour-Lapointe sisters (freestyle skiing), the Hamelin brothers (speedskating) and the Subbans (hockey).

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We’re full of hot air

Canada is poised to lead the world in a new era of transportation that looks a lot like an old era of transportation. Airships-dirigibles that require little fuel and no runway, and can carry weighty cargo-are the perfect way to access hard-to-reach areas such as disaster zones.

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We’re changing the world

With We Day, Marc and Craig Kielburger have turned global charitable works into headline pep rallies featuring inspiring speakers (Al Gore, Jane Goodall) and top musical acts (K’naan, Demi Lovato), giving teens a reason to get excited about forging a better future.

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