Holiday | Trends

Celebrating Canada Day abroad: 3 CPAs share their plans

They may be outside of Canada on our country’s big day, but these international members still mark the celebration in their own way

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Child girl is waving Canadian flag on top of mountain at sky backgroundThere are plenty of ways to make Canada Day special even if you aren’t in the country to celebrate (Shutterstock/uzhursky)

What do you do when you’re away from the country on Canada Day? 

Celebrate, of course. 

From iconic gatherings in London’s Trafalgar Square to barbecue lunches at the Canadian Australian club to Canada-themed family outings, there are plenty of ways to mark the occasion. Here’s how three international members of CPA Canada plan to make July 1 special this year.

ALLISON PEART

Country managing partner and tax partner, Ernst & Young Kingston, Jamaica

Allison Peart might spend time buzzing around the globe, but she tries to be in Jamaica on July 1 each year. On that day, she usually gathers with about 350 other businesspeople and diplomatic guests for the Canada Day event hosted by the Canadian High Commissioner, Laurie Peters, at her home in central Kingston. 

“These events are always fun and showcase Canadian business, education and cultural linkages in Jamaica,” says Peart. “One year we celebrated over a Canada Day breakfast of pancakes with Canadian bacon and maple syrup. And another year, we had ice wine from Inniskillin. That was an interesting novelty, because Jamaica is normally a rum country.”

Although Peart was born in Jamaica and has been living and working there since late 2002 (E&Y asked her to return to set up a tax practice), she stresses that she is still connected to Canada, where she attended high school and university and worked for more than a decade. Not only does she visit often, but she promotes Canada and Canadian education—whether it be as a board member of the university or as a regular attendee at high commission events. 

“I especially enjoy July 1, because the high commission is very popular here and the event gets a lot of media focus for Canada,” she says. “It’s wonderful to be part of the Canada Day celebration in Jamaica.” 

PAUL ARBO

Audit and HR partner, BDO Cayman Islands 

Normally, Canada Day is fairly low-key for Paul Arbo, because June 30 is an important filing day in the Cayman Islands. But this year, the CPA Canada Cayman chapter board member will be pulling out all the stops with a Canadian-themed house/pool party at his new home in the Cayman Islands Yacht Club area, which is located close to world-famous Seven Mile Beach. A number of Canadian expats who live in Cayman, including several fellow board members from the local chapter of CPA Canada, will join him. 

“There is a group of restaurants down here that are part-owned by Canadians and a couple of them already do a Canada Day menu with poutine, bacon-wrapped scallops, mussels and clams, so I have called on them to cater,” he says. “I’m also planning my playlist right now—Tragically Hip, Bryan Adams, Barenaked Ladies, Loverboy, Our Lady Peace, Sloan, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell—there are so many,” he says.

As a Maritimer from New Brunswick, Arbo always misses Canada on July 1—and this year is no different. However, he’ll be heading north shortly after the national holiday to join his family in Ontario’s Muskoka region. They will spend a couple of weeks touring Muskoka and Toronto.

“I always look forward to spending my summers and the odd ski vacation in Canada,” he says. “But I’m really looking forward to hosting my Canuck celebration on July 1 as well.”

BONGY TANG 

Vice president, IT governance, China Construction Bank (Asia) Corporation Limited Hong Kong

Canada Day weekend in Hong Kong is almost certain to be sweltering—the thermometer has been hovering around 31 degrees Celsius since the beginning of June—but that won’t matter to Bongy Tang and his family. The Hong Kong chapter member and his two daughters, Bellerie, 8 and Blissany, 3, will likely head to a local skating rink, where they’ll take a spin or two before returning home for some Canadian treats, such as smoked salmon and roasted ham. As Tang explains, his daughters grew up watching him play hockey, and are quite comfortable on the ice. They also know Canada well, since they visit once a year. (Tang was born in Hong Kong but attended high school and university here, and worked in Vancouver for a few years, where his parents and in-laws still reside.)

Tang says celebrating Canada Day as a family is quite typical for expats with kids living in Hong Kong. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CanCham) also hosts events to mark the occasion, with this year’s festivities taking place in Macau. July 1 is also a holiday in Hong Kong, Tang notes, commemorating  the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China, and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

LEARN MORE ABOUT CPA CANADA’S GLOBAL PRESENCE

From Barbados, Cayman to China, Hong Kong and Trinidad and Tobago, you’ll find information about each organization at the Chapters page.