Seven Wonders of Canada
There’ something about this nomination that really strikes a chord. A regular house on a regular street in a regular city, and yet there is something so wonderful about the pride we all take in our regular lives, and in the care we lavish on our houses. There’s something essentially Canadian about a lick of paint on some old boards after a long winter. We really liked this pitch – and we think you will too!
Marilyn Arts Butcher
My vote for one of Canada’s Wonders is my parents’ home and though it may seem at first to be a very personal wonder, it also represents the experience of so many Canadians, that I feel it is a national wonder indeed.
My parents emigrated from Holland to Canada in 1958, just 2 weeks after their marriage. In 1966 they bought their first home, where they live still today. Though I was an infant at the time, my older sisters recall their utter horror when they realized my parents were seriously considering purchasing the worn, neglected, ugly house on the corner. The blue shingled, white stuccoed, 1 ½ story house had been inhabited by vagrants and likely several four-legged residents for some time. I often heard the stories of the transformation the house underwent to make it habitable --- the lawnmower bursting into flames as it tackled the overgrown weeds in the yard; the wall torn down to reveal an insulation of old and soiled long johns; the bathtub where fires had been lit by squatters trying to keep warm. The house was in terrible shape, but over 41 years, my parents worked constantly at improvements to make it the warm, neatly kept, proud home it is now. I’ve heard passers by comment on how unique the house is. Though the once-gravel road that passed in front is now a 4-lane thoroughfare, and the empty lots and aged houses around have been gobbled up by suburban development, the house stands as a proud reminder of the spirit and work ethic of a generation of immigrants. Every Canada Day, a large Canada flag flies in front of the wrap-around porch, its colours echoed in the hundreds of geraniums and alyssum planted below. This house is a wonder. It reminds us of where so many of us came from, and it is the physical fulfillment of a dream held by a young couple, starting out a new life together in a country new to them.
My parents are now in their 70s. Maintaining the house and garden is becoming almost too large a chore for them and we are now envisioning a time when the property will have to be sold. Sadly, we all recognise that in all likelihood the house will be torn down and the large lot divided. It’s a wonder it has lasted this long and it saddens me to think that wonders like this house hold little value for Canadians today. If the Canadian wonders should, as you said, be things we may take for granted and not realize their significance to us as a country and a people, then my parents’ house, and so many others like it, is just such a wonder.