Saturday, June 25, 2005

Postcard From the Edge

So I checked my mail today, and happily, I recieved a postcard from some online friends I have made who reside in Canada. It was a picture of Ottowa's Parliament Buildings from the Rideou Canal. I am not proud to say that I have never really seen or heard of either of these Candadian jewels. American History in schools is pretty much exactly that, with little-to-no mention of our neighbors to the North, except to mention that we managed to steal Alaska from them. Even in World History texts, Canada is little more than a footnote in the British Empire. Now I'm not saying I agree with this rather dismissive view, I'm just trying to explain the view from here.

The first thing that struck me is that we have absolutely nothing that looks like those buildings here in Southern California. The closest to royal we have are The Castle Green in Pasadena and the Magic Castle in Hollywood. The buildings in Ottowa looked so regal, so European, and well, just darn parliamentary. The next thing that caught my eye were all the trees, and the overall greenness of the area.

Being born and raised in Southern California, regal and green are not usually two words that anyone uses to describe this region. If we have any lovely old buildings, we are prone to razing them and constructing strip malls or tract housing. There is a Historic Preservation Society, and they are a busy, harried bunch. I need to check, but I don't think most of the buildings around here are more than 60 or 70 years old, at the most. And as for green, we do not have a climate here that is conducive to the deep, lovely hue of shall we say, the Pacific Northwest. Semi-arid is the designation for this area, although there are many people who use untold gallons of water trying to persuade Mother Nature otherwise. There is most of the time a rather bleached quality to the colors here, and whether it comes from our particular position on the equator, all the hair dye, or the pollution, I couldn't really tell you.

Since making the acquiantance of my Canadian friends, who are the first people I have ever "met" from that country, I have to say that I really never thought that much about Canada. I think it is a delusion that we are prone to here in the Los Angeles area that we are the center of the universe, New York be damned. I will list for you my former impressions of Canada:

French-speaking separatists
Michael J. Fox
They got the better side of Niagra Falls
South Park
Say, "eh" a lot
Mounties, of course
They tend not to have as much crime as we do
Did I mention cold?

I may not have been exposed to a true random sampling of Canadians, but in my mind they seem to be more introspective, more optimistic, and more open to new ideas than Americans.

But, unenlightened as I was, and to an extent still am, I am glad to say that I think quality number six was right on the money. Thanks AC and Cuppa!

1 comment:

Michele said...

Hey there! So glad to see that you are getting to know the "real" Canada and some real Canadians.