History lacking

Do you know what today is? Well, besides Wednesday, that is—and Jan. 11.
Here’s a hint? It has to do with an important figure in Canadian history. Still nothing? Umm, someone who played a key role in forging Confederation back in 1867.
Okay, okay—final clue: our first prime minister.
That’s right, it’s Sir John A. Macdonald Day. Please celebrate responsibly.
True, Americans may only know the birthdays of two of their more famous presidents—Washington and Lincoln—because of all the “Presidents Day” sales that bombard consumers each February. But still, you’d think we, as a country, could do a better job of promoting the day honouring our first PM besides a tiny notation on the calendar.
More troubling, however, is the fact far too many Canadians don’t know who Sir John A. was, let alone be able to name more than five former prime ministers. Ask them to rhyme off 10 U.S. presidents, however, and it’s a different story.
Americans are a patriotic bunch, and their history and folklore is drummed into them right from the get-go. It’s part of their culture, permeating everything from monuments to movies, and it definitely spills across the border into our psyche.
Canadians, of course, are much more modest. But while we don’t trumpet our patriotism from mountaintops, that’s no excuse for doing such a poor job teaching our history, whether in school or through books, movies, and TV mini-series.
We should know about Sir John A., and Wilfred Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie King; not to mention John Diefenbaker and Lester B. Pearson. About the explorations of Cabot and Champlain, and the Plains of Abraham and the War of 1812. About Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Louis Riel, and Georges-Etienne Cartier. And about our military exploits on the world stage.
Canada has a proud and storied history, and it’s a shame too few of us know much about it. We must work harder to bring it to life before it’s buried for good in the sands of time.