Showing posts with label Canada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canada. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Why I Love Canada: Confessions of an American South of the Border (Canadian Border, That Is)

I have written about "Why I Love England and my favorite summer vacation, which was on a narrow boat in England, but I haven't written about another country that I dearly love:  Canada. 

I was reminded of that fact when I recently watched the documentary
Being Canadian (2015).

There has been a great deal of interest in Canada of late (which I will get to later), but, despite all of this interest, who really knows anything about Canada?

That was a question that writer/director Robert Cohen was interested in finding the answer to, so he decided to drive from one end of the country to the other and interview people, asking them what they thought other people's views of Canada were. Starting from Nova Scotia in June of 2013, he planned to drive to Vancouver B.C. and get there by July 1.

He interviewed locals as well as famous Canadians who interject from time to time during the film.

"How do you feel about the world's seeming indifference to Canada?"

Dan Ackroyd - "Americans don't even know where it is."

Will Arnett - "If we were next to Uganda we would stick out a little more."

Cobie Smulders - "People ask me if I live in an igloo."

Alan Thicke - "We needed to have Walt Disney.  Instead we got Alex Trebeck."

"Why do non-Canadians freak out when they find out you are Canadian?"

Michael J. Fox - "People felt betrayed [that I wasn't an American]."

Martin Short - "They thought we were Russian spies dressed up like Americans."

"Why are Canadians so nice?"

According to a national etiquette expert, some of that politeness hails from British rule, but several people responded that they are afraid to put someone down because of how it reflects on them.  And maybe they aren't so nice after all.  Maybe it's passive aggression.

But they are nice. They are so nice, they don't even have a national food (unless you count maple syrup, bacon and beer), because they don't want to offend any food.

Catherine O'Hara - "We are so polite that I say, "Oops, sorry, when I bump into the furniture."

Why do so many funny people come from Canada?

They have a better sense of humor about themselves than we Americans do or how else could you explain curling?

And here are some other funny Canadian not already mentioned:

Samantha Bee
John Candy
Jim Carrey
Tommy Chong
Tom Green
Phil Hartman
Rich Little
Rick Moranis
Mike Myers
Seth Rogan
Mort Sahl
David Steinberg
Dave Thomas

Part travelogue, part comic documentary, Cohen also asks why is Canadian television so bad, do Canadians really have an inferiority complex and can anyone explain Canada's love-hate relationship with the United States?

Oh, and by the way, we Americans need to stop saying to Canadians, "I have a friend in Canada.  Maybe you know him?"

But on a more personal level, Canada has actually played a big part in my life over the years.

Growing up in Michigan, it was not a stretch for my parents to vacation in Canada, though we didn't vacation much.  But I have vivid memories of the Horseshoe Falls (the Canadian side of Niagara Falls) and deciding, even at a very young age, that the Canadian side of the falls was superior to the American.  My mother also collected cups and saucers so I remember hours and hours in Canadian gift shots. Canada was an English bone china collector's dream:

I also had a very good friend in high school, who it turns out was Canadian, which I didn't know at the time.  However, I should have, because she was very cool.

I got married young, and it was during the Vietnam War.  My then husband was drafted and sent to Vietnam, but before that, we seriously considered moving to Canada to avoid the draft.  Several of my friends from college actually did that.  But we didn't.

Later, when I moved to California, and then to the Pacific Northwest, vacationing in Canada became a regular thing, especially in Victoria, which is an Anglophile's dream.  It is often spoken of as "more English than England."

But now I know I need to address the elephant in the room. 

It's not by coincidence that Canada was on so many people's minds over the last couple of years as the U.S. Presidential campaign came to an end, and it became apparent that Donald Trump would become the 45th President of the United States.  Celebrities and commoners alike were saying that if he won, they were moving to Canada.  Canada has always been that welcoming country to the North that has so much going for it, so why not move there?

For example, one can't help but compare the two leaders:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau                   President Donald Trump




Young                                                                                  Old
Handsome                                                    Not so much
Progressive                                                   Wants to go back in time       
Wants good U.S./Canadian relations                Could build a wall
Feminist                                                        Misogynist
Against bullying                                             Likes to bully
Believes in climate change                              Not 
Popular                                                                   Not

I could go on but I won't.  Let's move on to something more pleasant.

Here's what I love about Canada:

Unparalleled Beauty.



Really friendly, polite people.

Exciting and fun modes of transportation.

Victoria is one of my favorite cities in all of the world.  And it's true. Victoria does seem more English than England or at least as English.  Having High Tea at The Empress Hotel is de rigeur for tourists, though I prefer the smaller tea houses.

A drink in the Bengal Lounge, which was decorated as if to celebrate the rule of India, was also a must, and I have many happy memories of spending time there, but alas, it has closed after 61 years.  I guess celebrating the Raj isn't very PC.

But I will miss it!

And then there is Parliament, lit up at night.


The delights of Victoria are endless.


I never leave Canada without my tea from Murchies, the best tea in the world. I stock up and when I run out, I know it's time to get back up to Canada to replenish my tea supply, and when I can't go there in person, I order it online.

Friendly Border Patrol.
Crossing the Border, the Canadian border guards ask you about booze and guns - they don't want drunk, gun-toting Americans coming into their friendly, peaceful country.  Crossing back into the U.S. the border guards don't seem to care about drunk, gun-toting Americans coming back into the States as much as they seem to care about our possibly smuggling too much Murchie's tea into the country. Actually, they are just mostly gruff, suspicious and like to mess with you.

Lifetime Movies.
You know how I feel about Lifetime movies, and if you don't, here is a reminder.  You might not know this, but Lifetime Movies are almost always shot either in Vancouver or Toronto, though they purport to be set in San Francisco or Seattle (it's cheaper, you see).  My favorite reminder of that was a Lifetime movie supposedly set in Seattle, except there was this little ol' highway sign that said Whistler 120 km.  Mmmm - don't remember that sign in Seattle. Anyway, I have watched so many of these movies that I recognize the Canadian actors, who are almost a repertory company of actors moving in and out of such classic Lifetime Movies as "Love Sick: Secrets of a Sex Addict" and "Killer Hair."

Yes, hair can kill.

Kurt Browning and Figure Skating.
And you know how I feel about figure skating because I have actually written about what I have learned from it ("What This Newly Retired Baby Boomer Has Learned from Figure Skating").  So I am happy to live near the Canadian border where we get the CBC coverage of figure skating, which I have to say, is much more beloved in Canada than here, so it gets full coverage and, Kurt Browning, four-time World figure skating champion, does wonderfully droll commenting on the sport.


Poutine - c'mon.  If we love French fries, then French fries with gravy and cheese curds has to be that much better, right?

National Health.
I have never understood why single payer insurance is such an emotional issue here in the U.S.  If I am going to pay taxes, I want some benefit, and having my health taken care of from birth to the grave should be a human right. Canada and every other country in the world has national health except us.

I Feel Safe There.
It's difficult to get a gun.

Not too long ago, I briefly looked into what it would take to move to Canada, get the equivalent of a green card there or even citizenship and discovered to my horror that despite our ticking most all the desirable characteristics of a possible citizen, Hubby and I are too old to be of interest to the Canadian government, unless we have several hundred thousand dollars to invest, which we don't. I guess they want to keep out old folks who might drain their national health system. Canadians are also smart.

So we won't be moving to Canada anytime soon and I probably never would have.  I am proud to be an American and believe that America is a great country, and despite setbacks, I plan to stay involved so that it remains a great country. 

I will just have to settle for regular forays across the border to visit one of my favorite countries.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

So anyway,  those were just a few reasons why I love Canada.

And Canada must feel the same way about me, too, because they named a Vancouver hotel after me (yes, Rosy the Reviewer's real name is Rosellen)!

Oh, and it's so true about Canadians being super polite.  Canada is so polite, even their buses are polite.

On a recent visit to Vancouver, we saw a bus and its destination sign read "Not in Service - Sorry."

So as it said at the end of the film: "Today's Canada doesn't need explaining.  It's cool and everyone knows it!
Right on!


Thanks for reading.

See you Friday 
for my review of the new movie


as well as

 "The Week in Reviews"
(What To See or Read and What to Avoid)

and the latest on
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project."

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