Archived - Address for the Canada Day Celebration in Hatley, Quebec
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Hatley, July 1, 2011
Graham Fraser - Commissioner of Official Languages
Check against delivery
Beginning of dialog
It is a pleasure and an honour to be back for the 103rd anniversary of the Canada Day Celebrations in Hatley. For me and my family, the Eastern Townships region holds an important place in our lives. We feel at home here. I have been coming back for the last 25 years with my children and grandchildren and, when I do, I feel both happy and nostalgic.
This year, you chose “Canadian Vacations” as your theme. Obviously, the theme resonates with me—I’ve spent at least part of some 40 summers in this area. Each time I see a reference to the region’s villages—Hatley, North Hatley, Ayer’s Cliff, Way’s Mills, Georgetown—I feel a sense of pride and satisfaction at having a connection to this place. (Admittedly, another part of me hopes for a limit to the number of people who come to this area and fall in love with it.)
The region’s rich architectural and historical heritage is what makes it so special. More than just a picturesque town and prime summer destination, as with Georgetown and Lac-Brome which are located nearby, North Hatley is home to a largely Anglophone community within a Francophone province.
The population of this beautiful region is as well known for its warm hospitality as its bilingualism, giving it a particularly Canadian feel. I believe this region continues to reflect the cultural vibrancy of its residents, whether they live here all or part of the time. There is a fine line between residents and visitors. Those who visit often come back.
Many Canadian politicians, artists and writers—both past and present—chose this wonderfully distinctive region as their summer retreat. Many who came as visitors, stayed. Others who left, returned. All of this, combined with the area’s natural beauty and linguistic duality, is what makes the Eastern Townships so magical.
The parade here in Hatley is inclusive and welcoming—Canada at its best.
I am always pleased to see that Canadian hospitality and linguistic duality are recognized around the world and that this spirit of warmth and openness can be found in a place that is so special to me.
You don’t need to be sitting on Parliament Hill to feel Canadian on July 1st.
I’ve spent far more Canada Days beside a lake than I have at any official celebration, and I have never felt it unpatriotic to do so. The land itself—which is to say, Canada, this place we call home—already encapsulates many of the values we hold dear.
Anniversaries are a time for good wishes. This July 1st, as Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada, I hope that Canadians continue to live peacefully and respectfully. I also hope that Canada's linguistic duality remains at the heart of Canadian values.
I wish you all a festive and enjoyable Canada Day with your friends and families in this beautiful region.
Long live Canada! Vive le Canada!