Many St. Albertans will gather on Friday, to wave flags, paint their faces, take part in fun family activities, host barbecues, and watch fireworks to honour Canada Day.
As we mark the national holiday, we would do well to honour the ground we stand upon — Treaty 6 territory.
The footsteps of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit walked on these lands long before Canada was a concept, or a country, to be celebrated.
It's worth noting that there are many who will not be joyfully hooting and hollering alongside Canadians July 1, for reasons we would do well to hold space for.
Indigenous peoples still waiting for reconciliation efforts to come full circle may not mark the day until our country holds true to its inclusive promises.
Until then, yes, we can acknowledge the small steps forward, in St. Albert, and across Canada. But there is much work to be done to honour those who lived on the land long before many of our ancestors set foot on what is now known as Canadian soil.
July 1 will also be a day when many of those who have travelled far, and endured much, will breathe relief as new Canadians, and the new life and, for some, freedom that awaits at the end of their lengthy journeys.
Those who have sought solace within our country's borders, away from war and persecution and starvation, have new opportunities to rewrite the next chapters in their stories in a nation that touts its multicultural identity.
Our identity — what it means to be Canadian — has evolved. Hopefully it will keep moving along a forward-thinking trajectory, toward welcoming all, honouring differences, and learning to value the uniqueness of each person.
We can celebrate our penchant for self-deprecating humour, our world-renowned politeness, our ruthless Canada geese.
We are free to have friends who don't all think the same way, vote in elections, speak out against injustice, help those in need.
As we climb out from under COVID's grip, into an in-person world where we can once again sit alongside one another in the cool grass, waving Canadian flags and cheering at Canada Day's ensuing bursts of fireworks, let's hold some space in our hearts — for our shameful past, for the challenges each present day brings, and for the future we can create while standing together.
Never is Canada more beautiful than through the eyes of a new immigrant, who sees a land filled with promise and opportunity not to be taken for granted.
Our true power is nestled in the diverse voices that make up a country that would not be Canada without them — all of them.
Editorials are the consensus view of the St. Albert Gazette’s editorial board.