As patriotism packed parties in towns and cities across Vancouver Island Canada Day, a Nanaimo family made up of people from all corners of the world celebrated this country at its very heart. Skye Ryan has this story.
The Blundell’s have welcomed people into their home for decades and on Canada Day, they all came together to celebrate.
As mouthwatering food goes out and the decorations go up for a remarkable Canada Day party ahead, the scope of the countries who make up one big Nanaimo family becomes clear.
“Of course it’s absolutely wonderful and we got as much out of it as they did,” says Greg Blundell.
“That’s what makes up Canada,” says Arlene Blundell. “People from all over the world.”
Their shared story began decades ago, when Greg and Arlene Blundell sponsored a Vietnamese Boat Family to come and live in their home for a year. That was Ken and Wendy Chung and their two young sons, who have kept close ties ever since.
“I mean I’ve known them forever it seems. They’re my brothers, they’re my cousins,” says the Blundell’s daughter Nancy.
“I mean this is what Canada is all about. The openness and the trust and the respect,” says Chris Chung.
Over the years, this Nanaimo family’s also shared their home with many students from China and Vietnam while they study here. Then the Blundell’s son Art married an American and together they adopted Charity and Sam from Uganda.
“Sam and Charity have really brightened our lives so it’s what they’ve done for us, not what we’ve done for them,” says Art Blundell.
On Canada Day they’ve all come together in a family gathering 40 people strong, who wouldn’t miss this for the world.
“This gives us an excuse for a family reunion and a celebration of Canada Day,” says Arlene Blundell.
“Oh it means the world to us,” says Chris Chung. “From day one it has always been about being open with each other and respecting each other.”
Canadian values, shared by the thousands celebrating Canada’s birthday at Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park.
“It means everything,” says one woman celebrating at the Nanaimo Canada 150 event. “It means being free.”
All bound together by a love of this country that celebrates our differences and what makes us the same.