San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Happy Canada Day!

Last Friday morning was sunny and bright, perfect for a brunch at the Canadian Residence in Escazú, southwest of the capital. After the crowd of 50 or so guests sang the national anthems of Canada and Costa Rica, Canadian Ambassador Wendy Drukier delivered a speech in Spanish, English and French. She made a crack about Canada being less than adept at soccer, and she talked about the Pan-American Games that will take place in Toronto in 2015. Then Drukier raised a mimosa and said, “Santé!” After some additional words from Eduardo Trejos, Costa Rica’s vice minister of foreign affairs, everybody settled into their tables for a pancake breakfast.

The celebration came a little early, as Canada Day officially takes place on July 1. Originally known as “Dominion Day,” the holiday commemorates the unification of three different territories into a single nation in 1867. Canada has a strong relationship with Costa Rica, which has attracted thousands of Canadian expats, retirees and investors – as well as the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement (CCRFTA), which turned 13 in April. The Costa Rican rendition of Canada Day is not nearly as ostentatious as the Fourth of July, but expats have historically hosted community picnics.

The invitation made mention of “Canadian pancakes,” which turned out to be the same as regular pancakes. But given the incredible expense of authentic maple products in Costa Rica, the syrup made a luxurious addition.

Contact Robert Isenberg at

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