In tonight’s Winter Olympics Closing Ceremonies, we saw, heard, smelled, tasted, felt the dream of the north shift. From our traditional Canadian stance of modesty and self-deprecation, we shifted into claiming the gold of self-identity – an identity that transcends and includes the nations of the world.
The presence of 2600 athletes from around the world, was in many ways indistinguishable from the presence of all the nations of the world who are the citizens and the fabric of our country. But emerging from this external mosaic of multi-culturalism was an internal trans-ethnic cultural sense of our self as a world of nations in our one nation.
The sense of one-ness came not from melding our differences into some homogenous blend but of boasting about our hybrid roots and welcoming the world not as strangers but as relations. The featuring and honouring of our First Nations was symbolic of recalibrating the oldest cultures with the most recent ones.
Canada all of a sudden finds the dream it has had of the north, to be one that reflects the whole world because it emerges from the energy and cultures of the whole world. The pride looks on the outside like patriotism — and in many ways it is — but it is a patriotism that comes from opening with delight and surprise to accepting who we have become. It is as if our nation has claimed a sense of purpose in serving the world by recognizing how much we are capable of. If we choose to struggle together, honour each other, compete with respect, learn from each other and embrace differences that make a difference, we believe we can create a new dream. But this is not just a new dream of the north, this is the new dream of the world.