Plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving
Published Saturday October 12, 2014
In preparing for Thanksgiving (making travel arrangements, cooking meals, stocking fridges), it’s easy to lose sight of why we commemorate this festive occasion.
The tradition of expressing thanks for good fortune in Canada dates back to the 18th century, when explorer Martin Frobisher and his crew were encouraged to give thanks to the gods for delivering them safely, across the ocean, from England to Canada.
Decades later, when other settlers voyaged here (such as Samuel de Champlain), they, too, hosted ceremonies of thanks to celebrate their safe passage to this new land.
Over the centuries, Thanksgiving has evolved into a celebration of a bountiful harvest, and all Canadians should take a moment this weekend to reflect on the many blessings that we enjoy in Canada, in addition to food, farming and harvests.
All Canadians owe a debt of gratitude to their forebears who came to this country from somewhere else to start a better life for themselves and for their children. It must not have been easy to leave their homes and loved ones to embark on a new life in a foreign country, but hundreds of thousands of men and women did it.
Imagine the struggles and challenges that these immigrants faced when they came to Canada; most arrived here with little more than the clothes on their back and a few dollars in their wallet, yet they worked tirelessly and made the most of their opportunities.
On a personal level, I am deeply thankful (and grateful) to my parents and my wife’s parents for making huge sacrifices so that their children could grow and prosper in a free country. It required courage to start over in a new country, and the sacrifices they made should not be forgotten.
When you take a moment to appreciate the freedoms that we enjoy, you can’t help but feel thankful for living in a country that offers such an incredible diversity of nationalities, cultures, communities and landscapes.
We should all feel thankful to live in a free and democratic country, a country that values and celebrates freedom of expression, human dignity, personal achievement and cultural diversity.
In Canada, there are opportunities for people to work and go to school, and to succeed beyond their wildest dreams. Whether you aspire to be a great athlete, scientist, artist, entrepreneur, performer, educator or health-care provider, the opportunities to achieve your goals are as good if not better in Canada than anywhere else in the world.
With the emergence of new technologies and a stable economy, Canada is brimming with opportunities for those who want to work hard, learn a trade, get an education, connect with online communities or start businesses. In the decades ahead, many sectors (especially the automotive industry) will be looking for skilled workers to fill their ranks.
While you are sitting down to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal, take a moment to reflect on the many opportunities and blessings that we should feel thankful for.
What better way to honour those blessings than to take a few hours to enjoy and appreciate the moment? We are all so rushed and busy with work and family responsibilities — we need to occasionally stop and smell the roses, as it were, and appreciate what we have.
My recommendation would be to disconnect from the online world and take a leisurely car ride into the country. The fall colours are in full bloom now and there are countless scenic drives throughout Ontario. Plan on enjoying the beauty of the outdoors and spending time with family or friends.
On behalf of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, I wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving.