Because this month we celebrate Canada’s 150 birthday and leaving aside all the controversy that this number has brought, I wanted to take some time to put together some thoughts on the kindness the Canadian people is known for.
It’s rush hour at Union Station downtown Toronto and everyone needs to hustle to get to work, nevertheless doors are being held and “sorrys” are being heard. After a while of this rush hour routine you don’t even notice it anymore and regardless weather you get a thank you for holding the door or not you still do it because everyone does it and well… because its nice to be nice. Now, I believe this “its nice to be nice” is something that its in the core of every person, precisely because Canadians are known for being nice and because its such a great characteristic to be known for, everyone (or well most of people), makes sure being nice is something real in their day to day life.
After almost four years of living in this side of the woods, I also came to realize that being nice is much more than just holding doors open, offering to take a picture for you in a tourist site or say sorry when you bump into somebody. Nice Canadians are very careful when it comes to ask you a question regarding your background, knowing its not OK making assumptions but also showing a true interest in you and your life. Supervisors are careful when addressing everyone in a work environment, making sure everyone feels included. Joking about stereotypes is just not acceptable and any comment that is not welcome might get you to the HR office, so it was while working in a call centre downtown Toronto when I came up with my theory on why Canadians are nice; its that daily effort on little things like your vocabulary, or holding the door or when you have to make sure you are including everyone that the Canadian legacy of being nice comes to live and you cant help but to feel strained to continue with it by being nice to others as well.
So more than a Happy Birthday Canada, this is a Thank You Canada for being so nice!!!