Canada: It’s a more civilized version of America, where gun crimes are the exception, not the rule. Where health care is easier to get—and keep. Where young men fled to avoid the draft during Vietnam.

OK, it also has the tar sands of Alberta, is home to Anne Murray (but on the up side, also Neil Young, Arcade Fire, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and several members of The Band) and a crackhead for a Toronto mayor. But America has coal ash pits and more bad musicians than you can count. And Marion Berry, no stranger to the pipe, was the mayor of Washington, D.C.

While this blog focuses on life in North Carolina, on Canada Day—the nation’s 147th birthday—here are a few reminders of home for the 5,000 Canadians who live in the Triangle. Miss your homeland? Join CanSouth, a local group for ex-pats, based in Wake County.