Tomorrow is Canada Day — an event worth celebrating from coast to coast.
As I was preparing this column, I began to think about the role that automobiles have played in Canada’s growth and prosperity over the past century.
Trains, telephones, postal systems, radio and the internet have contributed much to uniting our great country, but the birth of automobiles has brought us closer together as a nation than any single invention or development.
The advent of automobiles allowed individuals and families to travel from town to town, and province to province, in the comfort of their own vehicles whenever they wanted. Automobiles ushered in an era of personal freedom that continues to this day.
The automotive industry has created employment (and an enhanced lifestyle) and prosperity for hundreds of thousands of Canadians over the decades. Canada is the ninth-largest producer of automobiles in the world. Our auto-assembly plants produce 2.4 million vehicles and export $48.8 billion worth of vehicles (2016), and they consistently earn top ranking for quality and efficiency.
Whether it is the 140,000-plus people who are directly employed within our sector, or the millions of car owners who depend on their vehicles to get around, the industry has been (and still is) a critical component of Canada’s economic activity.
The automobile is a necessity for millions of Canadians, especially those who live and work in rural communities, where public transportation is unavailable.
Other attributes, besides automobiles, have contributed to Canada’s greatness as a country. For instance, our ethnic diversity has helped to fuel much of this country’s growth, innovation and development.
From Vancouver to Newfoundland, Canada’s rich blend of cultures and ethnicities gives the country its unique flavour. Each region has its own dialect, character and customs, and each contributes to the wealth of cultures that make up our great country.
Made in Canada- 150 Years of Canadian Auto Manufacturing
A column about Canada Day would not be complete without acknowledging the extraordinary men and women in the retail car sector who work hard every day trying to satisfy our customers.
Car manufacturers and automotive parts suppliers deserve special mention, too, as they continue to grow and re-invest in their businesses.
In Ontario, The Automotive Business School of Canada at Georgian College in Barrie, Conestoga College, Algonquin College and Durham College are among the many post-secondary schools that are doing an incredible job preparing the next generation of automotive workers, and that is worth celebrating.
The Canadian government deserves acknowledgement for keeping Canada competitive on the world stage and for its continuous belief in individual freedoms, human rights and democratic principles.
I want to thank the banking and finance industries for supporting our industry and its consumers. Financial stability and enterprising financing have allowed average Canadians to enjoy their vehicles and the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.
For all of the great things about Canada, there are things that concern me, too. Traffic gridlock, high gas prices, high taxation and distracted driving are unpleasant issues to include in a discussion about Canada Day, but there is no denying that they exist.
I am convinced these issues will get resolved — we are resourceful people and we will continue to make decisions that are good for Canadians. With the right political will and involvement from average Canadians, we can move mountains. We all have a voice, so let’s use it for the betterment of our country.
This Canada Day weekend, take a moment to reflect on how lucky we are to live in such a great country. As a nation, we have made a lot of progress in one generation, and I am convinced that our best years are yet to come.
Happy Canada Day, and drive safely.
From Carriages to Cars: The Early Canadian Automotive Industry
Birth of the automobile in Canada worth celebrating
This column represents the views and values of the TADA. Write to [email protected] or go to tada.ca. Susan Gubasta is president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association and is president/CEO of Mississauga Toyota. For information about automotive trends and careers, visit carsandjobs.com.
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