For Canada Day, Metro asked musician and author Dave Bidini to tell us what Canada means to him:

Canada is a lot of things.

It’s a snowbank toothpicked with hockey sticks where the hacking sounds of frozen engines force kids to kick goalposts out of traffic. It’s a bouquet of flying insects rising from a still pond where you sit on the embankment in your Gordon Lightfoot jacket smoking Dummies and scribbling nonsense poetry to a land muted by the rock and stone and ice and long grass that tilts homeward, just in case you get lost.

Canada is the bun-haired Tim Hortonette who shrinkwraps 200 donuts in glossy boxes to the Inuk family bound for home and who already miss the deep sting of winter, even though Ottawa is sunny and warm and there’s lots of stuff to do, but, alas, still Ottawa.

Canada is a land of wild, secret art, from Calgary’s One Yellow Rabbit to London’s Nihilist Spasm Band to Vancouver’s Ford Pier.

Canada is a warm dashboard tape deck skreeing the songs of Herald Nix while the fat summer sun wobbles like a truck stop totem in your rearview mirror set against the burnished red-rust sky.

Canada is a row of white tassles swinging from your jacket sleeve as you subway downtown reading something by Michael Ondaatje or Claudia Dey or Ken Babstock before climbing the sootless gray steps to the street, where taxi cabs whistle and chestnut vendors shout and the inexorable press of lawyers, stockbrokers and bankers shuttle underground.

Canada is me and your and your aunt and uncle, who moved to the Gaspe, which gave you a chance to visit, and now you know. The land is big. The land is hard. Canada is living with the fact that the trees and the snow will outlast us all.

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