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Sun turns Miss Canadiana's cookies soft (13 photos)

Miss Canadiana's cookies got a little soft in the hot Sault sun. Like those tasteful maple cookies, Miss Canadiana's words were sweet and soft. And pointed.

Miss Canadiana's cookies got a little soft in the hot Sault sun.

Like those tasteful maple cookies, Miss Canadiana's words were sweet and soft.

And pointed.

"I got the idea for this when I was walking through a mall in North Bay," she told one of the visitors to a tea party in her honour at the Art Gallery of Algoma Thursday afternoon.

"I felt as if everyone was staring at me, like I didn't belong there," Miss Canadiana said. "I thought about how Canada is supposed to have a culture of inclusiveness. But I didn't feel very included."

So she decided to remind other Canadians about this essential component of our culture.

Apparently they do need a few gentle reminders.

And it helps when those reminders come from a beautiful, refined and sweet lady who is sipping tea and smelling flowers children give to her.

"When did you come to Canada?" asked one woman as she sat beside Miss Canadiana and sipped her tea.

"Why did you first ask that question?" shot back Miss Canadiana with a sweet, earnestly curious and alarmingly disarming smile.

The woman went on to explain with a bit of nervous laugh that she thought maybe Miss Canadiana had come from Jamaica or one of the islands, because she knows some other people from there who sound and look a bit like Miss Canadiana.

She also said she realized, almost the instant that question was out of her mouth, that Miss Canadiana could quite likely have been born in Canada.

Miss Canadiana laughed and said she was indeed born in Jamaica and came to live in Canada when she was nine.

"Canada is my home and I love my country," she said to much hearty agreement from around the table, including the woman beside her.

People really like it when Miss Canadiana reminds them of what it means to be Canadian.

They invite her to travel all over, to places like Norquest College in Edmonton, where she was the keynote speaker recently at the International Day for the Elimination of Racism.

As the afternoon continued, many people came to the table outside the gallery, sometimes escorted by Miss Canadiana's entourage, to meet her and to hear her story.

The entourage nearly ran out of pens, pins and stickers because so many people came to greet Miss Canadiana and she could not let them leave her table empty-handed.

She'll be returning to the Art Gallery of Algoma for Canada Day, where she will watch or participate in a number of appropriately Canadian activities. Miss Canadiana may be found encouraging the children at their art projects, greeting the bicycle rally participants, cheering on the Ultimate Frisbee masters or possibly even grooving to the beat of the deejay or watching a nice Canadian flick on the wall outside the gallery.

She will also be joined by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable David C. Onley for a portion of the festivities.

Canada Day festivities at Art Gallery of Algoma get underway at 12 noon and continue to 11 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1.

For more on Miss Canadiana, please visit her website.