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A Coffee and Some Great Canadians Friday

A Coffee and Some Great Canadians Friday

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The poor grammar of my title aside, I stand by my guest post at Randomly Chad explaining the reasons why Canada is better than the United States. Kevin Haggerty crafted a pretty decent rebuttal, but we Canadians are a quietly proud and stubborn bunch so we’ll take Mr Haggerty’s points with a piece of back bacon and call him a hoser behind his back as he tries to pronounce ‘toque’ correctly. I was feeling somewhat nostalgic about my “Canada Rocks” post as Canada Day is on July 1st.  But I didn’t want to rehash that piece over here, so instead I would like to let you know about three people who, in my opinion, show some of the best Canada has to offer (I even sort of met one of them!):

Terry Fox: On April 12th, 1980, at 21 years of age, Terry Fox dipped his right foot into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean near St. John’s, Newfoundland and began his Marathon of Hope. His goal was to run across Canada and raise $1 for each of Canada’s 24 million citizens. Having lost his right let to cancer and now using an artificial leg, he ran 26 miles (42 km) per day with his ‘hop-hop, step’ gait to accommodate springs in the artificial leg.

Sadly, he never did complete his marathon, having to end his run outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario, when it was discovered the cancer had returned and spread to his lungs. He died the following year, having left his race unfinished but having seen his fundraising goal met and exceeded. His story and the annual Terry Fox Run continues to motivate and inspire people to this day. If you have 9 minutes, check out this piece done by ESPN on the 25th anniversary of The Marathon of Hope.

Rick Hansen: After sustaining a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident, Rick Hansen didn’t stop moving. He stayed involved in sports, becoming a successful athlete in his own right after graduating from the physical education program at the University of British Columbia. He even recruited Terry Fox to play with the national wheelchair basketball team.

Inspired in part by Fox’s Marathon of Hope, Rick began his own journey in March of 1985. With his Man in Motion World Tour, he proceeded to circle the globe, covering 34 countries in four continents over a 26-month period. I sort of met Rick Hansen as he made his way down the highway in front of my parents’ farm. Our school bus driver had pulled over to the side of the road, and he and all of us kids leaned out the windows and hollered our greetings while Rick, barely breaking his rhythm, waved at us all on his way to Fort Macleod, Alberta. We all celebrated and watched the coverage on TV when he arrived back in Vancouver, BC on May 22, 1987 having raised $26 million dollars for spinal cord research.

Rick Mercer: Some would say Rick Mercer is Canada’s version of America’s Jon Stewart. But seeing as how Rick began his political satire career in 1992 with This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and Jon did not take over hosting duties of The Daily Show until 1999, well . . . I’m not going to argue about it. It’s not the Canadian way, eh? Suffice it to say, Mr. Mercer is a funny – and insightful – man. He knows how the Canadian political system works, and why it’s often better to laugh at its craziness. His rants on This Hour Has 22 Minutes and The Rick Mercer Report have been some of the true high moments of each show. But don’t take my word for it. Here are two of my favourite clips of the man in action:

^Photo Credit: Charles LeBlanc ©2008 (Flickr via Creative Commons)

+Photo Credit: Ron Sombilon ©2010 (Flickr via Creative Commons)

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