Canadian-ness [was Re: American-ness ]

Owen Byrne owen@permafrost.net
Thu, 28 Mar 2002 13:40:48 -0400


Gary says:
> will favour Graham Townsend over Pete
> Townsend (or even Geddy Lee).  Thus my 2/3rds figure.

Who's Graham Townsend? And Rush makes me ill. Not because they're Canadian -
I can name a few Canadian bands that I admire, and more that are
transplanted Canadians.

>
> Without doubt, there are the American wannabees, and they dominate the
> small-percentage who populate the Bay Street office towers, but if you
> just step out to the shipping dock down the back street, you'll find a
> very un-American (who probably knows a thing or two about hunting
> bear) who frequents the Dominion Tavern.
>
They don't hunt in the US? And there are a lot less taverns around than
there were 20 years ago, and a lot more dance clubs/discos where, once
inside, you could easily be in Spain, or California or New York - same
music, same decor, same everything.

I bet the Dominion Tavern probably had bigger attendance for the Super Bowl
than the Grey Cup.

> What I love about Toronto is that I can walk in there today, straight
> out of the bush in my woods gear and into the trendiest Queen-west
> club, and no one, no one notices.  I'll bet I could walk in there with
> trapline gear to check at the hat stand and they'd only raise an
> eyebrow.
Please. I can go to the trendiest club in Halifax (not very trendy) in
jeans, t-shirt and sneakers and the bouncer will politely inform me of the
dress code and refuse me entry. Especially if I'm older/ugly/the wrong
colour. If you stood in line wearing "woods gear" they would likely pick you
out of the line, and volunteer some useful advice like "don't even bother,
man, you ain't getting in dressed like that."

Unless of course its 4 in the afternoon. When nobody bats an eye at the
rural yahoos because the club is empty and any bozo who wants to spend their
money is welcome. Although clearly (from their dress) not worth raising an
eyebrow over. I suspect the same phenomenon would occur in US cities with
reasonable proximity to the "bush" (if there are any left).

>
>     O> ... our best talent gets Americanized, because thats
>     O> where the big dollars are.
>
> It's like our beer and hockey players: We export the stuff we don't
> want (Gretsky excepted -- his wife made him do it, and we got him back
> after).
He lives and works in California, doesn't he? What good hockey players have
we kept?
Almost every Olympic medal we win is by someone attending a US university.

And we export just about any beer that'll sell, don't we? Usually sold with
that same rural moose and backwoods theme that makes most Canadians laugh at
the absurdity - Do Americans really think life up here is like that?

>
>     O> Maritimers have more in common with New Englanders than they do
>     O> with people from Ontario. Manitobans are like Minnesotans
>
> Being from Manitoba, I'll take exception to that.  Manitobans are
> heavily slanted by the founding Scot-Metis culture, Minnesotans are
> not.  Cape Breton is not Cape Cod, Saskatchewan (the birthplace of
> Social Credit) is not Wisconsin.

I spent four years at U of Manitoba - and I don't remember any reference to
anything Scottish (Well, Ashley McIsaac played once). Most people seemed to
be of Scandinavian background (or Filipino). Half of my classes were North
Dakotans and Minnesotans, and the affinity between them and the locals was
very obvious. I think most people (because most people are recent
immigrants) would draw a blank if you asked them about the founders of
Manitoba. And I don't want to get into the treatment of the Metis. Actually
I remember a survey from when I lived there - I think it was some outrageous
number, like 75%, of people surveyed in Winnipeg did not know who Louis Riel
was.

And having spent a lot of time in Cape Breton, I can say that a lot of
people there really wish they were Cape Cod if that would get rid of the
grinding poverty and joblessness that is probably the most striking
difference.

I'm living in Nova Scotia now and I have talked to people who given the
requirement of leaving the region to find work, preferred Boston to
alternative locations like Toronto, Alberta, etc, because it felt the most
like home - it may just be proximity though.

Just for reference, I have seen a moose.  Once. I do think Canada is
different from the US, but the Canada you're presenting is largely foreign
to most Canadians (except on long weekends). I do think that Canadians
struggle for an identity other than the rural, Canadian Tire, shinny-on-the
pond images of our past and the current "inoffensive Americans"  image we
adopt abroad.

Owen