Jessica Friesen
35
Niagara on the Lake, Ontario

Born and raised in Canada, I grew up in Niagara and lived in London, Ontario for five years while I went to University.  I worked in the tourism industry while I was in high school, and was always proud to see the wonder on visitors’ faces when they saw Niagara Falls for the first time. 

I have travelled to a few different countries and always ensure that I have my Canada Flag luggage tag and my Canada Flag pin. When you meet someone new while travelling, asking where you are from is one of the ‘ice-breaker’ questions and it is remarkable how others react when I say I am from Canada – there is a look of awe on their face.

I am lucky to live in a country ruled by democracy; one that encourages freedom of speech and freedom of choice.  This is a country where the fact that I am a woman means I am strong, smart, and able to make a living in a traditionally male-dominated industry – and I am encouraged to do so!

I feel comforted knowing that I am raising my children in a country where they have access to publicly funded schooling and health care.  My daughter once needed stitches vacationing in the US – that’s when it really hit home how lucky we are in Canada to walk into an ER and walk out without a huge bill.

What is your favourite Canadian Stereotype?
 I am proud to embrace some of the traditional Canadian stereotypes – I say “eh”, LOVE poutine, look forward to the snow (although maybe not the cold!) and I probably say “sorry” too much. It’s always nice that whether in the big city or rurally you can be sure when you catch someone’s eye on the sidewalk you will receive a small smile and maybe a nod or “Hi”. I’m not an NHL fan, but I love minor hockey, and the best thing about Boxing Day is World Juniors begins!

What is your favourite aspect of being Canadian?
 I am a solid child of the 1990’s and have fond memories of Much Music, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Degrassi – Canadian cult hits.  Some of the amazing musicians from my youth went on to world domination – Sarah McLachlan, Celine Dion, Shania Twain.  We are still doing it – look at Justin Bieber and Drake! Canadians are ridiculously talented.

Canada is one of the most picturesque countries – literally from East Coast to West Coast, and far North to South.  Where else can you see wide stretching, flat prairies, enormous mountains, and magnificent waterfalls? It’s absolutely breathtaking.

I am proud to be Canadian and know that I am one of the lucky ones.  Cheers.