By Aaron Zaretsky
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to count your blessings and give thanks for what you have. There have been groundbreaking moments to be thankful for in Canada this year. Below are five moments and cultural defining aspects to remember this Thanksgiving.
Raptors Win it All
The Toronto Raptors achieved something every Raptors supporter wanted; a championship status. There were many doubts but they provided lifelong memories capturing their first ever NBA championship. A nation came together to watch the Raptors historic playoff run, which included the dramatic movie like clinching shot from the Philadelphia series, and knocking off the defending back-to-back NBA champions, Golden State Warriors in the Finals! The Raptors celebrated their championship victory with over one million supporters at the championship parade which transformed Jurassic Park – a popular viewing area outside the Scotiabank Arena – into a Jurassic World!
Bianca Andreescu Wins the U.S. Open
For the second time in just under three months, sport captured the hearts and imaginations of Canadians when Bianca Andreescu became the first Canadian to win a tennis Grand Slam! The newest tennis sensation climbed 147 spots in the women’s tennis world rankings this year, going from No. 152 in January to now No. 5.
Her acceptance of winning the U.S. Open could not have been more Canadian as she apologized to the thousands of Americans who cheered on Bianca’s opponent, tennis legend Serena Williams. Andreescu has the potential to become the world’s No. 1 ranked women’s tennis player and is only 19 years old!
Founded by Ethan Brown in 2009, Beyond Meat is a plant-based vegan substitute to meat. Brown’s ultimate goal is to “successfully transition the human race from using animals to harvest meat”. The transition is off to a great start with the company making a significant impact in North America. U.S. sales climbed 42 % in the last three years, to a total of $888 million US, and the company is valued at $4 billion US.
In Canada, Beyond Meat has spread across the nation in several grocery store and fast-food chains. Environmentally, the Beyond Burger has made a dramatic impact with production “generating 90 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, using 93 % less land, 99 % less water and about half the energy of a beef burger.”
A year ago, Canada became the second country in the world (first being Uruguay) to legalize cannabis. Its impact in Canada? A year later, cannabis sales are projected to be between CAD 800-900 million. In five to ten years, sales are expected to be in the range of CAD 5-10 billion.
The success of legalized cannabis in Canada has other countries following suit. For example, in the United States, New Mexico became the 24th state to decriminalize cannabis. Also, more than 60 % of Americans support legalization.
Cultural diversity is a defining part of Canada’s national identity. Canada is arguably the most diverse country in the world. According to Canada’s 2016 census, 22.3 % of the population are visible minority groups. A few years ago, BBC Radio declared Toronto as the most diverse city in the world with over 50 % of the population being visible minority groups.
The cultural diversity has become embedded what it means to be Canadian. A slogan that the Canadian Football League (CFL) uses is “diversity is strength”, which means that aspects of diversity – heritage, orientation, race, religion, and much more – provides Canada’s strength. Cultural diversity is a defining part of Canada’s national identity.
And I’m thankful to be Canadian!
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.