Oh Canada

Monday, March 5, 2012

I've decided to become a Canadian. Don't be too shocked, I'm not really trading in my nationality. But in recent days, neigh, recent years, it's crossed my mind that I might have been born on the wrong side of the border. Allow me to make my case(s):

Case 1) Proximity 

I live closer to Canada than I do to the nearest post office, grocery store, bank, etc. It's literally just a hop, skip and jump up the dead end road. Because the road dead ends before it gets to Canada, it would take me nearly two hours to drive to Canada, yet, as the crow flies, Canada is just five miles from the cabin. In the winter, I could just walk on over to Canada if I wanted. Actually, in the summer, I can "hike" to Canada too. 
Crossing the Granite River from Canada to the U.S. with Canadian blueberries

2) They think I'm Canadian anyway. 

One day, when I was at work at London, I stumbled into a conversation about time off between two coworkers. "Let's ask Ada what they do in Canada," said one of my coworkers, as I ducked around them to put something in the office mailboxes.  The pair looked at me expectantly. "But, I'm American," I said. I made this claim over and over again. They still thought I was a Canuck. 

Faux Candian. Blame it on the accent?

Case 3) Trade in Garrison Keillor for Stuart McLean 

If I swap out my U.S. passport for Canadian one, maybe I'd finally be able to wash my hands of Garrison Keillor. When people hear "Minnesota" and "English major," it's pretty common for them to think of Keillor and his insipid Prairie Home Companion radio variety show.  I don't care Keillor's smug voice or his broad generalizations about Minnesotans and I don't identify with all that talk of Lutherans and prairies.

I do relate to Stuart McLean, the host of Vinyl Cafe, which is sometimes unfairly called "The Canadian Prairie Home Companion." Our little town was lucky enough to host a live performance of the Vinyl Cafe this past weekend and after attending the performance, I can tell you that McLean is funny, kind and genuine. Canada's storyteller totally trumps Minnesota's.

Case 4) Anne of Green Gables

Don't get me, wrong, I'm all about the Great American Novel. But as I re-read all of the Anne of Green Gables books, all set on the smallest Canadian province, Prince Edward Island, I'm charmed all over again. Canada has a great literary heritage: L. M. Montgomery, Farley Mowat, Margaret Atwood, et al. 

And Canada's a veritable music hotbed too:  Joni Mitchell, Stan Rogers, Rush, The Guess Who, Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne, Celine Dion, Sum 41. (So that list got out of hand quickly. . . .)

We don't often think "culture" when we think "Canada," but maybe we should.

Case 5) I speak French

But not well. Okay, not at all. I did take French in high school and (briefly) planned to minor in it at college. While Spanish would have been a more sensible choice, I live in an area of the continent were French Canadians had a huge influence. I respect the French language, but any more, my knowledge of the language is limited to: Parlez-vous anglais? I'm pretty sure the people of Quebec would be mean to me.

Case 6) Hockey, hockey, hockey

Let Americans keep their insufferable football. I prefer my sports fast moving and played on ice, thank you very much. 

Case 7) The cheap beer is better 

This is Andy's contribution to the list. It's true. I'd rather have a Molson, Moosehead, or Labatt Blue over Bud or Miller any day. Added bonus to Canadian beer? You have to go to the beer store to buy it.  No town should be without a beer store. 
Case 8) Superior National Anthem 

Have you heard the U.S. national anthem? Of course you had. Can you sing it? Of course you can't. Here's to Canada for keeping it simple and classy.

There you have it, eight totally legitimate cases for being Canadian!

How about you? Ever fancy being a different nationality? Can you think of other cases for being Canadian?



  1. I never ever considered living in the USA. Many years ago a former employer based me for 6 weeks in NY. America was never on my bucketlist. I did however spent a 14 months in Canada. I did a LOT to get one of the famous work and travel visa for European youngsters. I studied one semester at McGill - loved it - lets speak culture. I loved the "old medevial French" in Quebec. Transcanadian Highway No 1. 3 days and 2 nights in the greyhound bus to Vancouver. Oh, I have to stop as the best is yet to come and before I blog post in your comment section, I better blog at where I should... I love Canada, that I guess is clear by now.

  2. You would not have to twist my arm to move to canada- I like how they do things there, and have very much enjoyed my visits! I love the photo of you "hiking" to canada with the blueberries haha!

  3. Oh Ada, I loved this post. And I concur on multiple levels. But I'd have to add to my list: The Red Green Show. Did you ever catch that on late night PBS growing up? We loved it.

  4. Well, goodness, you've made some strong points! Do it! Either way, you're lucky to live in such a beautiful area, so close to nature. We live near the bay but also too close to the local mall ( which I avoid like the plague). Thanks for reading my tale Tueaday. You're a good writer as well!

  5. I'm all for holey borders. And those were some good reasons.

    But you can't beat a Belgian beer with a North American variety. And the visceral smugness experienced when singing the US anthem expertly amongst a crowd of uncorrected singers is like heroin.

    I get asked if I'm a Canadian a lot. I guess that my okie accent sounds Canadian. I mean, I'm not very nice...so I just assume that's what makes them ask.

  6. Anne of Green Gables has always made my case for Canada! lol Lately I've been thinking if I shouldn't jump across the pond. I'm finding more and more things I love about the UK. :D

  7. Just today my 18-year-old received a delivery from the University of Manitoba, a consideration in college choices since Canada has reciprocity with Minnesota. It's also quite affordable until you begin comparing cost of living differences, financial aid opportunities, travel (about seven hours for us). Then Canada doesn't appear quite as appealing. I believe it's off his list now due to cost.

    I can understand how you would identify with Canada given your proximity. I can identify with Garrison Keillor having grown up as a Lutheran on the southwestern Minnesota prairie.

    It's a good thing we don't all appreciate the same people and places and landscapes.

  8. Hahaha, I love the one about the national anthem. I once wanted to be Irish. But now I'm quite happy to be Swedish, after having worked in Ireland (had quite bad experiences at work there, but I've made peace with Ireland after I found how they rock at coeliac awareness).
    Canada seems to be a good place. Much more appealing to me than the US (apart from that the US has Appalachian music). Go, girl, go!

  9. Oh my gosh---- you are too funny!!!!!!! I get to have two passports German and American- so I pick and choose my favorite depending on the day!

  10. I am Canadian and just got my American citizenship very recently. Now I can claim all the best things about both countries. Still all those things you mentioned make me proud of my birth country and yes Stuart McClean totally trumps Garrison Keillor.

  11. I am Canadian and proud! We will welcome you with open arms and an apology... you know because we are canadian and think we need to say were sorry for everything! Kidding!
    Stumbled upon your blog (and I'm a new follower too) from the 3 four and under hop and i think you are hilarious! Can't wait to keep reading!

  12. That's hillarious Ada! I'll support you in your new Canadian life!

  13. Oh Ada you write such wonderful little posts. I love being Canadian, always have, and likely always will! Anne of Green Gables was a personal favourite of mine as a child and Stuart McLean graces my radio every Sunday with a new story about Dave and Morley on the Vinyl Cafe! You think those blueberries were good? You should try the Newfoundland variety, their growing season is cooler and longer, which makes the fruit so sweet it's overwhelming. If you'd ever like to come for a visit, we'd be happy to show you around :)

  14. I was given the Anne of Green Gables boxed set as a teen. Our basement flooded, and my books were lost. My first birthday as half of a couple saw my other half hunt high and low until he found a replacement set (10 years later!). I decided to keep him. lol

    As Emilee said, we'll welcome you anytime, eh? ;)

  15. Right now I'm wishing that the states would just be their own countries. With all the nonsense I'm hearing (Rush, specifically) it is hard for me to say "I really miss America" even though I do--because I miss Minnesota.
    As a teen I fantasized about marrying someone from Europe and living there because I considered it so superior... then I thought of the cross-culturual marriages I knew of and how few were still intact.
    ...plus, I love Tales of Lake Wobegon. But I grew up on the edge of the prairie myself and I am culturally Lutheran to the core. My mom used to make lutfisk.


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